Angry Nancy Pelosi slams young House progressives

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has issued a surprisingly scathing attack on the gutsy crew of progressive freshmen women in the House of Representatives, dismissing them as a tiny squad who have a “public whatever,” but no backing in Congress.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) shot back on Twitter later saying that the “public whatever” is public sentiment.” She added: “Wielding the power to shift it is how we actually achieve meaningful change in this country.”

Pelosi’s harsh comments followed a quote from a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez in a Washington Post op ed  Friday that the “greatest threat to mankind is the cowardice of the Democratic Party.” The young squad of Pelosi critics also includes Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.).

Pelosi attacked the women in an interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd published Saturday as she defended herself against criticism (including in the Huffpost story “What The Hell Is Nancy Pelosi Doing?”) that she’s caving into the Republicans.

RELATED: Nancy Pelosi through the years

UNITED STATES – JULY 23: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, right, and Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq’s prime minister, shakes hands while addressing the media before a meeting at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, July 23, 2009. Maliki pledged to mend sectarian divisions and fight corruption as he urged the international community to continue providing support to his nation. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

U.S. Vice President-elect Mike Pence, right, shakes hands with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, following a meeting in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. During their closed-door meeting, Pelosi expressed strong concerns about Trump’s decision to name former Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon to be his chief White House strategist, and asked him to reconsider the appointment. Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Pool via Bloomberg

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She has come under particular attack for her push to pass the Senate Republican bill (instead of the House version) increasing border funds without humanitarian guarantees for detained immigrants, particularly children.

Pelosi insisted that the bill — which the squad of four voted against — was the strongest she could get.

“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Pelosi said, referring to the women. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”

She blamed the shortcomings of the border bill on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whom she described as “authentically terrible.”

“With all due respect, the press likes to make a story that is more about Democrats divided than the fact that Mitch McConnell doesn’t care about the children,’’ she said.

“If the left doesn’t think I’m left enough, so be it,” Pelosi concluded defiantly. “As I say to these people, come to my basement. I have these signs about single-payer from 30 years ago. I understand what they’re saying. But we have a responsibility to get something done, which is different from advocacy. We have to have a solution, not just a Twitter fight.”

Check out Dowd’s full interview here.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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