Nancy Pelosi’s ‘60 Minutes’ Interview Includes A Curious Dig At Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn't appear to be too keen on the idea that freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might be pulling the party in a new direction. In an interview on CBS' 60 Minutes that aired Sunday, it seemed as if Pelosi downplayed Ocasio-Cortez's influence in the Democratic Party, characterizing the representative's more progressive wing as being only "like, five people."
"You have these wings; AOC and her group on one side—" CBS' Lesley Stahl said, framing the beginning of a question for Pelosi.
"That's, like, five people," Pelosi cut in.
"No, the progressive group is more than five," Stahl responded.
"Well, the progressive — I'm a progressive. Yeah," Pelosi said.
But as The New York Post has pointed out, it's quite possible that Stahl and Pelosi were each thinking of a different wing or group of the Democratic Party's congressional members. According to the paper, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which could have been the wing Stahl was referring to, has 98 members, including Ocasio-Cortez. Meanwhile, Pelosi may have been thinking of a smaller group made up of Ocasio-Cortez and just six other Democratic representatives, who are endorsed and supported by the Justice Democrats, a progressive political action committee.
In 60 Minutes' interview with Pelosi, Stahl went on to ask if the speaker of the House still didn't favor Medicare for all, a policy idea many of the party's progressives — and even 2020 presidential candidates — have called for. "Affordable Care Act is better than Medicare, there's no question about that," Pelosi said, arguing that the ACA provided better benefits than Medicare currently does. "If you want Medicare for all you're gonna have to change Medicare and let's take a look at that,"
However, while she appeared open to looking at progressives' proposals for a Medicare for all system, she told Stahl that didn't mean Democrats were adopting socialism. "I do reject socialism as an economic system," she said. "If people have that view, that's their view. That is not the view of the Democratic Party."
What's more, this isn't the first time Pelosi has, at least, appeared to take a public swipe at Ocasio-Cortez. In April, the House speaker told USA Today that votes in the House were more important, and impactful, than Twitter followers. "While there are people who have a large number of Twitter followers, what's important is that we have large numbers of votes on the floor of the House," she said, it what many took to be a jab at Ocasio-Cortez, who has nearly 4 million Twitter followers and often uses the social media network to get her message and ideas out.
But while Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez haven't exactly seen eye to eye on everything — earlier this year, Pelosi wouldn't endorse Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal and Ocasio-Cortez once protested climate change outside Pelosi's office — they certainly don't appear to be bitter enemies. As Business Insider has pointed out, Pelosi named Ocasio-Cortez to both the Financial Services Committee and the House Oversight Committee.