House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez held a one-on-one meeting Friday on Capitol Hill, in an effort to ease the recent infighting between the progressive wing and moderate congressional Democrats—and smooth over their own differences after the two traded barbs.
Pelosi said after the sit-down that it went "very well." And when asked during her weekly press conference if the meeting served to "bury the hatchet," Pelosi scoffed: "There was no hatchet. We are in the political arena."
"We are the Democratic Party…In our caucus, we have our differences. Respect that instead of making a big issue of it," Pelosi said. "We sat down today, we had a good meeting. The congresswoman is a very gracious member of Congress, so we had a very positive conversation."
She added: "I feel … it's like you're in a family. In a family, you have your differences, but you're still family. We just had a meeting to clear the air."
Her office even provided photographic evidence afterward of the two lawmakers smiling beside each other.
"Today, Congresswoman @RepAOC and I sat down to discuss working together to meet the needs of our districts and our country, fairness in our economy and diversity in our country," Pelosi tweeted, with a photo of her and Ocasio-Cortez.
Speaking to reporters afterward, Ocasio-Cortez called the meeting “productive.”
“I’m looking forward to us continuing our work, and as always, I think the speaker respects the fact that we’re coming together as a party,” she said.
Despite the smiling faces, Pelosi, 79, who has served in the House for more than 30 years, has clashed with Ocasio-Cortez and allied freshman lawmakers. This week, she said she was “looking forward to” meeting with Ocasio-Cortez to air out their differences — which span everything from their approach to immigration to the question of impeachment against President Trump.
But Ocasio-Cortez, 29, tried to downplay their meeting ahead of time, stating it was “nothing too climactic.”
“Just trying to make sure we have an open line of communication and get on the same page,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
The feud between Ocasio-Cortez and Pelosi escalated after Congress recently passed a border funding bill that Ocasio-Cortez, along with Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., all opposed.
In an interview earlier this month, Pelosi told The New York Times that “all these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world, but they didn’t have any following. They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got.”
Ocasio-Cortez then told The Washington Post that the “persistent singling out” by the speaker was “outright disrespectful” and affected “newly elected women of color.”
The feuding accelerated from there, especially as AOC's chief of staff took shots at moderate members. Pelosi earlier this month warned lawmakers against tweeting negative things about colleagues, and cited an “offensive tweet that came out of one of the member's offices” that compared centrist Democrats to segregationists. That tweet was authored and then deleted by Ocasio-Cortez’ chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti.
The dispute was effectively put on hold after Trump two weeks ago attacked those same freshman lawmakers on Twitter, suggesting they go back to their home countries, fix things and return to show the U.S. how it's done. (though all but one were born in America). Pelosi and other Democrats rallied around those lawmakers, accusing the president of a racist attack.
But the tensions simmer under the surface. According to a senior Democratic source, House Democrats and their aides have been losing patience with Ocasio-Cortez and her office’s sparring with Pelosi and other long-serving members.
“She is a complete fraud,” the source told Fox News earlier this month. “Her peers do not take her seriously.”
Fox News' Jason Donner and Lukas Mikelionis contributed to this report.