Washington (CNN)California Sen. Kamala Harris defended House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a new interview, stating that she has had “a different experience” than New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who recently accused the House leader of “singling out of newly elected women of color.”
“So, I have a difference experience.”
The comment injects Harris into a spat between Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez
, during which the House Speaker urged members against tweets admonishing fellow Democratic members of Congress. The comments have been widely seen as hostile to four progressive freshmen House Democrats known as “the squad” — Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
Tensions have been simmering between Pelosi and the progressive freshmen lawmakers
for months, highlighted by Pelosi telling the New York Times
recently that the four “didn’t have any following.”
Ocasio-Cortez has stood by her critique of Pelosi, telling CNN Thursday, “It’s really just pointing out the pattern, right? We’re not talking about just progressives, it’s signaling out four individuals. And knowing the media environment that we’re operating in, knowing the amount of death threats that we get, knowing the amount of concentration of tension, I think it’s just worth asking why.”
Asked about why she believes Ocasio-Cortez rankles older Democrats
, Harris added: “When you have anyone who is as smart and as bold as her questioning the system and doing it in such an effective way, it can throw people off their game.”
Harris and Ocasio-Cortez have also recently worked together. On Wednesday, the two Democrats introduced legislation
aimed at helping people with criminal records fairly obtain housing.
During the interview, Harris also was pressed about her widely-praised confrontation with former Vice President Joe Biden at last month’s Democratic primary debate, during which the California Democrat called him out over his decades-old fight against busing to desegregate schools and comments about his ability to be civil and work with segregationist senators.
Harris called Biden’s efforts
to explain himself “revisionist history.”
“I’m not going to let us engage on a debate stage for who’s going to be the next president of the United States — I’m not going to allow us to engage in revisionist history,” she said. “I can’t stand on that stage and allow certain conversations to be taking place.”
Harris, however, praised the Biden for coming together with Obama in 2008 and noted her personal relationship with Beau Biden, the former vice president’s late son.
“When I was battling the big banks, Beau stood with me,” Harris said. Harris and Beau Biden worked together during their time as attorneys general for their respective states.
“Beau, his son… was an incredible person, an incredible human being and a very dear friend to me,” Harris added. “Beau and his father have a very special, special relationship and so through Beau, I got to know his father, mostly just because of the love that they shared with each other.”
Joe Biden told CNN earlier this month that he was not prepared for the way Harris attacked him at the debate, in part, because of her relationship with Beau.
Harris argued Friday that her relationship with Beau is “separate” from her differences with the former vice president.