Looks like Democratic Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is shaking up her team at the behest of Nancy Pelosi. Her chief of staff and her communications director have announced plans to resign. They are quitting. The Intercept reported on Friday that Saikat Chakrabarti, the congresswoman’s chief of staff since January, and Corbin Trent, her communications director, would be leaving her congressional office in the next few weeks.
Normally, that would be cause for celebration but we all know things in DC are never what they seem. Chakrabarti, who masterminded Ocasio-Cortez’s election to Congress, is heading to the New Consensus, a nonprofit working to bolster the Green New Deal and other climate change initiatives. That’s one bad penny that will continually turn up I’m afraid.
AOC’s office said in a statement:
“Saikat has decided to leave … to work with New Consensus to further develop plans for a Green New Deal. We are extraordinarily grateful for his service to advance a bold agenda … Saikat’s goal has always been to do whatever he can to help the larger progressive movement, and we look forward to continuing working with him to do just that.”
Shoveling that load of horse manure would take a year. His controversial comments and inciting of party discord did the guy in. Grandma Pelosi gave him the boot. Looks like the Grande Dame of the Democrats is still ruling with an iron progressive fist.
— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) July 11, 2019
Communications director Corbin Trent, on the other hand, is transitioning to Ocasio-Cortez’s reelection campaign, which has elicited a number of high-profile challengers. “With the Ocasio 2020 campaign beginning to ramp up, I’ve asked Corbin to transition to the campaign full-time and he has agreed to do so,” Ocasio-Cortez told The Intercept. “I’m looking forward to growing the movement with him in Queens and the Bronx and across the country.”
“The shakeup comes as the congresswoman’s office has been engulfed in controversy since Chakrabarti attacked more moderate members of the House majority.
“In June, Chakrabarti took to social media to air his frustration with moderate Democrats for forcing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to abandon a $4.6 billion emergency border appropriation bill favored by progressives. In a series of tweets, Chakrabarti likened the moderates to old Southern Democrats, many of whom were avowed segregationists.
“He stood by the comparison even when a progressive activist noted Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS), the first openly LGBT Native American woman elected to Congress, was one of the moderates that wavered on the bill.
“I think the point still stands. I don’t think people have to be personally racist to enable a racist system. And the same could even be said of the Southern Democrats,” Chakrabarti said in a now-deleted follow-up tweet. “I don’t believe Sharice is a racist person, but her votes are showing her to enable a racist system.”
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) June 27, 2019
“Although Breitbart News reported on the controversial comments at the time, neither Ocasio-Cortez nor House leadership acknowledged that Chakrabarti may have crossed a line. The situation, though, changed sharply in July when Ocasio-Cortez accused Pelosi of “singling out newly elected women of color.”
“After the rebuke, Pelosi’s allies within the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) moved simultaneously to defend the Speaker and attack the freshman congresswoman. A number of the CBC’s members, including Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO), directed their anger at both Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff.
“It shows you how ignorant and little history [Chakrabarti] knows, how ignorant he is to American history. How dare he,” Clay told The Hill.
“The Missouri Democrat extended his criticism to Justice Democrats, the group started by Chakrabarti to support left-leaning primary challenges to establishment Democrats.
Can we stop calling the Blue Dog Caucus "fiscally conservative but socially liberal?" I missed the part of fiscal conservativeness or social liberalness that includes wasting $4.5 billion of taxpayer money to put kids in concentration camps.
— Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) June 27, 2019
“I find it juvenile, their tactics, I find their ignorance to be beyond belief about American history and about who are really segregationists,” Clay said. “And so how dare they try to play the race card at this point, it shows you the weakness of their arguments.”
“Other moderates appeared to echo the sentiment, with some even anonymously calling for Chakrabarti’s ouster.
“Even prior to the broadside about moderates, Chakrabarti had come under fire for his tenure leading Justice Democrats. In March, a complaint was filed with the Federal Election Commission claiming he funneled more than $1 million in political donations to two of his private companies.”
All these articles want to claim what a legislative mastermind Pelosi is, but I'm seeing way more strategic smarts from freshman members like @AOC, @IlhanMN , @RashidaTlai and @AyannaPressley. Pelosi is just mad that she got outmaneuvered (again) by Republicans.
— Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) July 7, 2019
Now, it could well be that this is exactly what it seems on its face. Chakrabarti is a moving force in the poisonous and suicidal Green New Deal and AOC does indeed face stiff competition in this next election. But it seems more likely this is a compromise that keeps these two in the fold, albeit on the fringes, for future dirty work. Think Barack Obama’s tactics.
Remember, these are dedicated Marxists who found a comrade in Bernie Sanders. Both of these guys ticked off Nancy Pelosi. This is the equivalent of Democratic Siberia. Nancy Pelosi and AOC met for the first time last week to ‘discuss’ things. Then this happened. I don’t believe in coincidence.
Pelosi claims we can't focus on impeachment because it's a distraction from kitchen table issues. But I'd challenge you to find voters that can name a single thing House Democrats have done for their kitchen table this year. What is this legislative mastermind doing?
— Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) July 7, 2019
This aged well, Grandma just boxed you out son.
— Aaron et politica ingenio 🇺🇸 (@peekaso) August 2, 2019