In a major shakeup, two of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s key staffers have announced that they are leaving.
Chief of Staff Saikat Chakrabarti will depart immediately to work for a far-left environmental group that is trying to build support for the Green New Deal, and Communications Director Corbin Trent will leave at an undetermined later date to head up her 2020 campaign full time, Trent told The Intercept.
Chakrabarti goes too far
The moves come after several weeks of sparring between Ocasio-Cortez’s staff and more moderate Democrats. Chakrabarti openly criticized Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS) when she voted for the bipartisan border bill in June, accusing her of supporting a racist system. House Democrats angrily defended Davids, but Chakrabarti doubled down on his sentiments, saying that someone could “enable a racist system” even if they themselves weren’t “a racist person.”
Chakrabarti also angered moderate Democrats by publicly comparing them to segregationalists in July. “Instead of ‘fiscally conservative but socially liberal,’ let’s call the New Democrats and Blue Dog Caucus the ‘New Southern Democrats,’” Chakrabarti wrote in a now-deleted tweet. “They certainly seem hell bent to do to black and brown people today what the old Southern Democrats did in the 40s.”
After these tweets, Pelosi reportedly called a meeting to tell party members not to tweet their complaints about colleagues.
Chakrabarti under fire
Moderate Democrats saw Chakrabarti as having a major role in the conflict between House Democrats. Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) called the staffer “ignorant” of history for his comments.
An anonymous moderate Democrat even told Scott Wong of The Hill that Chakrabarti should resign over the comments.
“Do I think @AOC’s chief of staff (@saikatc) needs to be fired? Of course I do,” says moderate Democratic lawmaker.
— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) July 11, 2019
Chakrabarti is also facing allegations related to his leadership of Justice Democrats, an action group he ran before working for Ocasio-Cortez. In March, the Federal Election Commission got a complaint claiming he diverted more than $1 million in political donations to two private companies he owned.
With more challengers coming out to run against Ocasio-Cortez from both parties in 2020, Trent has decided to work for the campaign full-time instead of part time as he had been doing. “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 said. “I’m looking forward to growing the movement with him in Queens and the Bronx and across the country.”
Ocasio-Cortez may have finally acted to get rid of Chakrabarti, but it seems to me that the damage has already been done in the Democrat party. President Donald Trump seized on the discord by “defending” Pelosi against Ocasio-Cortez and her squad, which only made Pelosi affirm the far-left Democrats.
Now, Trump is saying that the squad is the face of the Democrat party and sticking the Democrats with every far-left idea the squad has espoused. It’s a brilliant strategy.
How Ocasio-Cortez and Pelosi can salvage the situation is anyone’s guess, but I’m sure they’ll try.
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