News and Commentary

Former ‘Justice Democrats’ Candidate Leads Charge Against Pelosi, Calls Speaker A ‘White Supremacist’

Anger at Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for daring to allow a floor vote on a measure condemning anti-Semitism spread beyond progressive Democrats in Congress late Tuesday, when a former candidate for the “Justice Democrats” — the same arm that elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — called the Speaker a “white supremacist.”

Saira Rao, a “Justice Democrat” who ran for office in Colorado (and lost), has been active in supporting Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) following an outcry over clearly anti-Semitic statements Omar made last week at an event for progressive activists. Tuesday night, she weighed in on the debate over whether House Democrats should adopt a measure condemning anti-Semitism by comparing Pelosi to infamous white supremacist David Duke.

“Iam going to unfollow anyone who posts anything positive about Nancy Pelosi,” Rao tweeted. “Nancy Pelosi is a white feminist. White feminists are white supremacists. Nancy Pelosi is a white supremacist. And if you idolize Nancy Pelosi, you may as well declare allegiance to David Duke.”

The sentiment echoes a statement made earlier in the day by Women’s March founder, Linda Sarsour, who also accused Pelosi of being a “white feminist,” and suggested that the Speaker of the House was merely a tool of the “patriarchy.” In fact, Rao praised Sarsour for her “leadership” on the issue earlier in the day.

In response to critics — mostly from the Left — who took her to task for essentially condemning “non-intersectional” feminists for the complicity in a bigoted agenda, Rao doubled down.

“You do realize that you are complicit in the racism you are publicly condemning, right? You do realize brown and black people would greatly prefer that you OPENLY and BOLDLY call out racism when it happens rather than hold a vigil after the fact, right?” she tweeted Wednesday.

Rao is, of course, merely a failed candidate. But she was part of the “Justice Democrats” movement that got the “new generation” of Democratic leaders — people like Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) — elected and is emblematic of the more progressive wing of the party which is struggling to take the reins from people like Pelosi. Current and future candidates for House seats won’t be as likely to accept Pelosi’s leadership, it seems, as past generations.

The pressure on moderate, mainstream Democrats is clearly increasing. After drafting an “anti-anti-Semitism” resolution for the House floor, which condemned comments like the ones made by Rep. Omar (without, of course, mentioning Omar by name, or proposing any real consequences for her behavior), Democratic leaders abruptly pulled the measure from the vote schedule Tuesday night, delaying the measure indefinitely “until it could be rewritten to be more intersectional: to include statements against all forms of bigotry, including Islamophobia.”