“I have no regrets about anything,” she told reporters. “Regrets is not what I do.”
Both Ms. Pelosi and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez have said the argument is not about them individually or any personal animosity that exists between them — they have not had a one-on-one conversation since January — but about the constituencies they represent.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez says she took offense at the speaker’s remarks because they implied that her constituents, and members of the broader progressive movement who share her views, are irrelevant.
“It’s not about four people,” she said in an interview on Tuesday. “It’s about the millions of people that we were elected to represent. And the idea that we can just dismiss people from the Bronx because they’re from the Bronx is, I think, counter to who we are as a party.”
Ms. Pelosi insisted she did not mind being a lightning rod for criticism, but she wanted to protect the more moderate Democrats in the Blue Dog Coalition and the New Democrat Coalition, many of whom represent Republican-leaning districts. Those members are constantly faced with the possibility that a vote they cast could harm their chances, and the party’s chances, of holding the House, she said.
“Every day some of our members have to fight the fight for their re-election,” she said, according to one of the attendees who described her comments. “You make me the target, but don’t make our Blue Dogs and our New Dems the target in all of this, because we have important fish to fry.”
The conflicts are unlikely to dissipate soon. Many Democrats are privately frustrated with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s tactics, while others concede privately that Ms. Pelosi has made matters worse by appearing to dismiss her and the squad.
“It’s just a strange and bizarre thing, because leadership has never registered any problem with us privately, internally,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said on Tuesday, before the speaker’s closed-door remarks. “We’ve never been pulled aside. No one’s ever had a conversation, never really had a one-on-one on any of these kinds of issues.”
On Wednesday, Ms. Pelosi changed all that in front of the entire Democratic Caucus.
“Some of you are here to make a beautiful pâté,” she told the group. “But we’re making sausage most of the time.”