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Manchin: Ocasio-Cortez 'more active on Twitter than anything else'

The Hill logo The Hill 12/1/2020 Dominick Mastrangelo
Joe Manchin wearing a suit and tie: Manchin: Ocasio-Cortez 'more active on Twitter than anything else' © Getty Manchin: Ocasio-Cortez 'more active on Twitter than anything else'

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) questioned the legislative experience of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a leading member of the Democrats' progressive wing with whom he has clashed over the future of the party.

"I guess she put the dagger stare on me," Manchin told The New York Times in reference to a photo the congresswoman tweeted of her glaring at the moderate during this year's State of the Union Address. "I don't know the young lady - I really don't. I never met her. I'm understanding she's not that active with her bills or in committee. She's more active on Twitter than anything else."

Since arriving in Congress following the 2018 midterm elections, Ocasio-Cortez has criticized Democratic leadership in both chambers, arguing that legislators have not been bold enough in tackling issues of health care, immigration and climate change.

Manchin, a moderate Democrat, has warned that a leftward slip by the party could lead to fractures in its base, putting the House majority and Senate seats in jeopardy.

"We're not going to defund the police, we're not for the [Green New Deal]," Manchin said. "That's not going to happen. We're not for Medicare for All - we can't even pay for Medicare for some."

Other moderate Democrats who won tightly-contested races last month have issued similar cautions about the rhetoric espoused by Ocasio-Cortez and her more liberal colleagues.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) has said she is concerned about how Republicans can spin statements made by more progressive members of the Democratic Party.

"The position I was stating was we have to better explain what we are for," Spanberger told The Washington Post in reference to calls from the progressive left to defund the police. "And yet if you were to say to your constituents, what is it they have done in the area of police reform? People just won't necessarily be able to say, because the conversation has been consumed by slogans - and frankly they are also slogans that have been weaponized by our political opponents."

As tensions flare with the likes of Manchin, Ocasio-Cortez has aligned herself with the Senate's more liberal members, including Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

"It's your own party thinking you're the enemy," Ocasio-Cortez said recently about her more moderate critics. "When your own colleagues talk anonymously in the press and then turn around and say you're bad because you actually append your name to your opinion."

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