The official Twitter account for the Democratic caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives attacked Saikat Chakrabarti, chief of staff to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), on Friday, suggesting he launched a racist attack against a Democratic congresswoman. Worse, the Twitter account used Ocasio-Cortez’s own formulation against her chief of staff.
“Who is this guy and why is he explicitly singling out a Native American woman of color? Her name is Congresswoman Davids, not Sharice. She is a phenomenal new member who flipped a red seat blue. Keep Her Name Out Of Your Mouth,” the House Dems account tweeted.
That tweet included a picture of Chakrabarti’s tweet attacking Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.). Davids had voted for H.R. 3401, the clean border funding bill first passed by the Senate. Originally, House Democrats had their own version which would have tied President Donald Trump’s hands considerably, but their version had no hope of passing the Senate. Republicans passed the clean version, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reluctantly agreed to support that version, which became law on July 1.
Ocasio-Cortez and her three close allies — Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) — refused to vote even for the original Democratic bill, claiming the border security system itself is racist.
In a now-deleted tweet, Chakrabarti compared centrist Democrats who voted for the funding bill as “new Southern Democrats” who “certainly seem hell-bent to do to black and brown people today what the old Southern Democrats did in the 40s,” a potential reference to the Ku Klux Klan. In other words, by abetting law enforcement (the demonized ICE) in enforcing U.S. immigration law and giving them more money to better the conditions at detention facilities, House Democrats were effectively helping a racist terror organization. Another liberal asked if Chakrabarti would apply this even to Davids. He did so.
“I think the point still stands. I don’t think people have to be personally racist to enable a racist system. And the same could even be said of the Southern Democrats. I don’t believe Sharice is a racist person, but her votes are showing her to enable a racist system,” he tweeted — and that tweet has not been deleted.
Yashar Ali, a journalist for the New York Post and HuffPost, broke down the different layers of the House Dems tweet. “The official House Democrats account is using [AOC]’s words about Pelosi and targeting her chief of staff? I’ve never seen anything like this,” he wrote.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) July 13, 2019
As for “AOC’s words,” Ali was referring to Ocasio-Cortez’s comment to The Washington Post. After Pelosi called her and her allies out for opposing the House Democratic caucus, Ocasio-Cortez bemoaned “the persistent singling out … it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful … the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color.”
Some, including PJ Media’s John Ellis, wondered if Ocasio-Cortez was calling Pelosi a racist. In this tweet, Pelosi’s allies accused AOC’s chief of staff of “explicitly singling out a Native American woman of color.”
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) reportedly controls the House Dems Twitter account, which claims to speak for the Democratic caucus.
As Ali pointed out, however, Pelosi’s own staff retweeted the message. Drew Hammill, the speaker’s deputy chief of staff, shared it with his followers.
4. Speaker Pelosi’s Deputy Chief of Staff has retweeted this tweet. pic.twitter.com/F78n2yySeQ
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) July 13, 2019
Chakrabarti defended himself, saying that he considers Davids a friend.
“This tweet was in response to someone else’s tweet where they specifically brought up Rep. Davids. Why did you leave that out? I’ve known Rep. Davids for a long time, consider her a friend, and encouraged her to run for Congress back in the fall of 2016. I’m glad she did,” he tweeted.
“Everything I tweeted 2 weeks ago was to call out the terrible border funding bill that 90+ Dems opposed. It gave Trump a blank check to continue caging people in horrendous conditions. Our Democracy is literally falling apart. I’m not interested in substance-less Twitter spats,” he added.
Everything I tweeted 2 weeks ago was to call out the terrible border funding bill that 90+ Dems opposed. It gave Trump a blank check to continue caging people in horrendous conditions. Our Democracy is literally falling apart. I'm not interested in substance-less Twitter spats.
— Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) July 13, 2019
Chakrabarti, a Silicon Valley veteran who founded Brand New Congress, a group dedicated to primarying moderate Democrats and replacing them with far-left progressives like Ocasio-Cortez, has served as a far-left kingmaker. Indeed, it seems Chakrabarti may be responsible for keeping Ocasio-Cortez in her long-shot 2018 campaign by giving the candidate cash — by hiring her boyfriend — at a critical moment.
Chakrabarti’s other organization, Justice Democrats, slammed the Democratic caucus leadership for “cracking down on progressives … instead of holding Trump accountable.”
“It’s deeply concerning and almost unbelievable that [House Dems] leadership is focused on cracking down on progressives pushing the party to more aggressively address the crisis at the border camps instead of holding Trump accountable. Where are your priorities?” the group tweeted.
It’s deeply concerning and almost unbelievable that @HouseDemocrats leadership is focused on cracking down on progressives pushing the party to more aggressively address the crisis at the border camps instead of holding Trump accountable.
Where are your priorities? https://t.co/TPyr4TJeE6
— Justice Democrats (@justicedems) July 13, 2019
Entrepreneur Carol Roth rightly described Chakrabarti as “the puppet master” of the far left.
He’s one of the leaders of the “Justice Democrats”. He’s not just responsible for one twit, he’s he reason we have all of them…he’s the puppet master.
— Carol Roth (@caroljsroth) July 13, 2019
A few days before the House Dems attack, Chakrabarti came under fire for wearing a t-shirt featuring Subhas Chandra Bose, an Indian nationalist whom Adolf Hitler recognized as the leader of the Free India Government. Bose broadcast Hitler’s propaganda and enlisted tens of thousands of Indians to support the Japanese invasion of British India in 1944 as part of Hitler’s war against Britain.
In case it's not clear, AOC's chief of staff is wearing a T-shirt with Subhas Chandra Bose on it — the Indian nationalist whose plan for fighting British colonialism involved sucking up to, uh, Hitler. https://t.co/Mvgcoa1R6a
— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) July 8, 2019
This controversy followed on the heels of Ocasio-Cortez’s decision to quote Evita Perón, the Nazi sympathizer first lady of Argentina. Trump had compared her to Perón, and it appears AOC welcomed the comparison.
“I know that, like every woman of the people, I have more strength than I appear to have,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, quoting Perón. “I had watched for many years and seen how a few rich families held much of Argentina’s wealth and power in their hands. So the government brought in an eight hour working day, sickness pay and fair wages to give poor workers a fair go.”
As of yet, the House Democrats account has not attacked Chakrabarti or Ocasio-Cortez for this, but this feud is still heating up.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.