WASHINGTON — Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-University City, has blasted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., for accusing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of being racially insensitive.
Clay, in an interview Wednesday with The Hill, reacted strongly to Ocasio-Cortez for saying Pelosi had singled out newly elected women of color in the House for criticism.
“What a weak argument, because you can’t get your way and because you’re getting pushback you resort to using the race card? Unbelievable, that’s unbelievable to me,” Clay told The Hill.
Pelosi, D-Calif., has recently made several remarks dismissing Ocasio-Cortez and three House allies — Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — or their proposals on the environment and health care.
That spurred Ocasio-Cortez in an interview with The Washington Post to make her “singling out” accusation regarding Pelosi.
Ocasio-Cortez, who was born in New York City, has family roots in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory. Omar, who was born in Somalia, emigrated with her family to the U.S. in 1992. Tlaib was born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrants. Pressley is African American.
Ocasio-Cortez last year endorsed Clay’s Democratic primary opponent, activist Cori Bush.
But since then, Clay has attempted to smooth the relationship with Ocasio-Cortez and signed on to her controversial “Green New Deal” plan to deal with climate change.
Clay has said he hopes Ocasio-Cortez will back him next year instead of Bush, who plans to run against Clay again.
Meanwhile, Clay and Pelosi’s close political ties were underscored by a string of Pelosi appearances with Clay in the St. Louis area in March, during which she made a strong endorsement of Clay’s 2020 re-election bid.