According to the revelations in a new book, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Pramila Jayapal were competing for “queen bee” of the leftwing of the Democratic Party.
According to revelations in the forthcoming book, Pelosi privately blamed progressives for nearly costing Democrats the House majority in 2020 and later fumed that Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were competing for “queen bee” of the left.
New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns pull back the curtain on Pelosi’s internal frustrations in their new book “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future,” due for release on May 3. Punchbowl News reported on some advanced excerpts of the book, from which the Pelosi quote was taken.
According to Martin and Burns, Democrats were expected to maintain and possibly even expand their majority in the US House of Representatives in 2020, given President Donald Trump’s unpopularity.
Instead, they lost a dozen House seats, nearly losing their majority in the chamber. Some of the districts Democrats lost in places like South Florida, and Southern California included high concentrations of Latino and Asian immigrants, a warning sign for Democrats’ electoral prospects.
“In a few strictly confidential conversations, she pointed a finger leftward,” the authors wrote. “Pelosi told one senior lawmaker that Democrats had alienated Asian and Hispanic immigrants with loose talk of socialism. In some of the same communities, the Italian Catholic speaker said, Democrats had not been careful enough about the way they spoke about abortion among new Americans who were devout people of faith.”
House Democrats played their fair share of the blame game after the 2020 elections, including on sometimes-tense and emotional calls.
On one such call shortly after election day, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a Virginia Democrat, castigated the phrase “defund the police,” the Washington Post reported at the time, saying, “If we are classifying Tuesday as a success . . . we will get fucking torn apart in 2022.”
Democrats secured a trifecta of government in January 2021, but their troubles didn’t end there.
In the fall of 2021, congressional Democrats tried to pass both components of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda in a bipartisan infrastructure bill focusing on roads, bridges, green energy, and transportation, and a much pricier economic spending package including childcare, social programs, and climate spending known as the Build Back Better agenda that Senate Democrats thought would pass along party lines.
But moving both measures at the same time proved to be an immense challenge, with progressives withholding their support for the infrastructure package in protest of what they saw as a lack of commitment to Build Back Better from centrists.
Pelosi, who famously only brings bills to the floor when she knows she has the votes to pass them, had to cancel two planned votes for the infrastructure bill on September 30 and again on October 29.
The speaker told a colleague that Jayapal, the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Ocasio-Cortez “were vying to be the ‘queen bee’ of the left, but that their reward might be serving in the House minority after the next election,” according to the book.
Despite the holdups and intra-party squabbling, Pelosi got the necessary votes to pass the bipartisan infrastructure law on November 5, with 13 Republicans voting in favor of the legislation. But she was still miffed at top progressives, who she blamed for at least temporarily derailing the bill’s passage.
Jayapal has served as a mentor and source of guidance to members of the progressive “Squad,” including Ocasio-Cortez, Politico reported in 2019, with the two congresswomen sharing a box of tomato soup on Ocasio-Cortez’s Instagram live.