House Democrats moved to de-escalate lingering tensions between the party’s factions on Thursday, in a bid to unify the caucus in its final stretch before a lengthy summer recess.
Leaders of the caucus’ moderate and progressive wings released a rare joint statement that reads like a political truce after a weekslong feud that has frequently spilled into public, including on Twitter.
In an olive branch among all sides, some of the contentious tweets deriding fellow Democratic lawmakers or staff were also deleted.
“We will remain clear-eyed with respect to our unity of purpose. Every single voice within the House Democratic Caucus is an important one,” the statement reads. “We have a shared mission. Onward and upward.”
The statement was signed by leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus as well as the two moderate groups, the Blue Dog Coalition and the New Democrats Coalition.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries initiated the effort, huddling with key members on the floor to show them the draft of his statement, according to people involved with the discussions. It also follows two meetings last week during which he met separately with progressive and moderate leaders. The statement was first reported by The Washington Post.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi also plans to meet Thursday with Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez after Pelosi downplayed the influence of the freshman New Yorker and her allies, resulting in a high-profile spat that consumed headlines for days.
The public attempt at unity comes after several weeks of tense infighting — first sparked by disputes over a border spending bill — that moved from the House floor to Twitter.
One tweet that raised eyebrows came from the House Democratic Caucus account and called out Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff for his own tweets aimed at moderate Rep. Sharice Davids, who had supported the border package that progressives detested.
The tweet — which began with, “Who is this guy and why is he explicitly singling out a Native American woman of color?” — was deleted Thursday.
Ocasio-Cortez’s top staffer, Saikat Chakrabarti, also appears to have deleted his much-criticized tweet, in which he accused Davids of helping to “enable a racist system” by voting with party leaders on the border measure.
Another tweet from CPC co-chair Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), in which he blasted moderates in the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus as being members of the “Child Abuse Caucus,” was also taken down.
Democratic leaders are looking to present a united front before next week’s long-awaited hearing with former special counsel Robert Mueller.
The House is also set to take up a measure next week to condemn the global boycott of Israel — a bill that is certain to again divide the caucus and could resurface charges of anti-Semitism against Omar and other Democrats who oppose the legislation.
Internal disputes within the Democratic caucus largely faded from view this week amid President Donald Trump’s repeated personal attacks on Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).
Democrats turned inward to support their high-profile freshmen, with an unprecedented vote on the floor to condemn Trump’s remarks that they should “go back” to where they came from.
The caucus again stepped up its support Thursday, after Trump supporters targeted Omar with chants of “send her back” at a rally and prompted Democratic leaders to consider new security measures to protect her.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine