Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claimed that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made her life in Congress miserable, frequently singling out the more junior lawmaker because of her age, according to an upcoming book that focuses on the New York Democrat’s congressional career.
“The amount of times she told me that stupid ‘I have protest signs older than you in my basement’ shit. Like yeah, but mine don’t collect dust,” Ocasio-Cortez said of the Democratic speaker in a text to Ryan Grim, the Washington bureau chief for The Intercept and a former D.C. bureau chief for HuffPost. The anecdote is included in an advanced copy of Grim’s book obtained by HuffPost.
Ocasio-Cortez, known as AOC, was elected to the House from a New York City district in 2018, at the time becoming the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at age 30. She has since become known for her progressive politics and bold moves, including attending multiple protests.
In 2018, Ocasio-Cortez participated in a sit-in with environmental activists in Pelosi’s office, demanding legislation to address climate change. In 2022, the young politician was arrested for protesting the overturning of abortion rights alongside other lawmakers. And earlier this year, she showed support for striking writers and actors on a picket line in New York City. (She’s not free from criticism — her activism has been called performative by some.)
On the other hand, Pelosi is a veteran lawmaker, representing a San Francisco district for more than three decades. She is known as a trailblazer for equality and women’s rights but has had a notable feud with Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives in the Democratic Party.
AOC told The Washington Post in 2019 that she thought Pelosi had singled out “newly elected women of color.”
For example, Pelosi had called out newly elected Democratic Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), popularly known as “The Squad,” for not having the same support in Congress as other lawmakers.
“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Pelosi told The New York Times in 2019. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got.”
Ocasio-Cortez called the jab “outright disrespectful,” according to The Washington Post interview.
The 83-year-old congresswoman, who served as speaker from 2007 to 2011 and again in 2019, stepped down from that leadership role in January. When Pelosi moved on from the speakership, Ocasio-Cortez thought her “misery” would continue. But she was wrong.
“I thought things would get worse,” AOC said, according to Grim’s book. “I thought a lot of my misery was due to leadership more broadly having a thing against me. But … my life has completely transformed. It’s crazy. And it’s that that made me realize it was kind of just [Pelosi] the whole time.”
“Now, senior members talk to me, [committee] chairs are nice to me, people want to work together. I’m shocked. I couldn’t even get floor time before,” she added.
Ocasio-Cortez, now 34, told Grim that today she’s treated fairly by her congressional counterparts.
Grim’s book, “The Squad: AOC and the Hope of a Political Revolution,” is set to be released on Dec. 5.
A representative of Pelosi declined HuffPost’s request for comment.