Omar: ‘We never need to ask for permission or wait for an invitation to lead’ | TheHill – The Hill

Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOcasio-Cortez’s racism charge shows Pelosi at risk of being devoured by the revolution Racial politics roil Democratic Party Overnight Energy: EPA expands use of pesticide it considers ‘highly toxic’ to bees | House passes defense bill with measure targeting ‘forever chemicals’ | Five things to watch as Barry barrels through the Gulf MORE (D-Minn.) sought to energize progressive activists on Saturday, telling a crowd that lawmakers shouldn’t “ask for permission or wait for an invitation to lead.” 

Omar, addressing the Netroot Nation conference, an annual meeting of progressive activists, appeared to take jabs at Democratic House leadership after a week of tensions between her fellow progressive colleague Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSecond Republican announces plans to challenge Ocasio-Cortez in New York Overnight Energy: EPA expands use of pesticide it considers ‘highly toxic’ to bees | House passes defense bill with measure targeting ‘forever chemicals’ | Five things to watch as Barry barrels through the Gulf Overnight Defense: House approves 3 billion defense bill | Liberal sweeteners draw progressive votes | Bill includes measure blocking Trump from military action on Iran MORE (D) and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSocial media summit highlights partisan approaches on tech Ocasio-Cortez’s racism charge shows Pelosi at risk of being devoured by the revolution New York Democrat on Ocasio-Cortez, other progressives: ‘Primaries go two ways’ MORE (D-Calif.).

“We recognize every single person has a role. Our role is to take our votes. Leadership’s role is to wrangle votes. And so if everybody understands what their role is, then everybody succeeds,” Omar said.

Omar made the comments on a panel alongside two of her fellow freshmen colleagues, Reps. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyRacial politics roil Democratic Party Overnight Energy: EPA expands use of pesticide it considers ‘highly toxic’ to bees | House passes defense bill with measure targeting ‘forever chemicals’ | Five things to watch as Barry barrels through the Gulf Overnight Defense: House approves 3 billion defense bill | Liberal sweeteners draw progressive votes | Bill includes measure blocking Trump from military action on Iran MORE (D-Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibRacial politics roil Democratic Party Overnight Energy: EPA expands use of pesticide it considers ‘highly toxic’ to bees | House passes defense bill with measure targeting ‘forever chemicals’ | Five things to watch as Barry barrels through the Gulf Overnight Defense: House approves 3 billion defense bill | Liberal sweeteners draw progressive votes | Bill includes measure blocking Trump from military action on Iran MORE (D-Mich.), who, along with Ocasio-Cortez, are known in Washington as the “squad.”

Omar appeared to double down on House progressives’ feud with their party’s leadership, suggesting that tensions within the party remain.

“There’s a constant often struggle, often times, with people who have power, about sharing that power,” Omar said during the “Making Herstory: The Women who are Shifting the Balance of Power in Washington,” keynote address.

“We are not really in the business of asking for the share of that power. We are in the business of trying to grab that power and return it to the people.”

Omar’s remarks came days after the four freshmen congresswomen got into a heated public tangle with Pelosi, prompting the Speaker to admonish lawmakers during a closed-door caucus meeting this week.

Pelosi pressed Democrats to keep their disputes to themselves, later making it clear that a tweet, since deleted by Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, had motivated her speech. The tweet had ripped centrist Democrats, comparing them to segregationist Southern lawmakers.

The dustup escalated when Ocasio-Cortez later accused Pelosi of racial insensitivity in an interview with The Washington Post.

Ocasio-Cortez accused Pelosi of singling out women of color for criticism as divisions linger over the passage of a $4.6 billion border bill. Ocasio-Cortez said she and fellow women of color have felt dismissed by Pelosi, who has thrown cold water on progressive issues like the Green New Deal climate plan. At times, Pelosi made clear the freshmen do not speak for the full caucus.

By the end of the week Pelosi has signaled a desire to move on, saying she had nothing more to say on Thursday.

More still, a growing number of progressive House Democrats, frustrated with the public squabbling, have accused Ocasio-Cortez of crossing a line when she suggested that Pelosi was treating minority women unfairly.

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