LOS BANOS — Rep. Jim Costa doesn’t like being called a racist, especially by a staffer of the House’s most controversial freshman.
In a tweet posted Thursday, Saikat Chakrabarti, chief of staff for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), compared moderate Democrats to those in the party with racist pasts.
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) June 27, 2019
Costa, a Fresno Democrat, has long touted his Blue Dog credentials. Moderate Democrats who take a more conservative political approach than their progressive colleagues comprise the Blue Dog Caucus.
“Obviously, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Costa said of Chakrabarti on Friday.
Costa talked to GV Wire while in Los Banos for a town hall with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
“We have some incredibly talented new members. I think some of them need to focus on how we work together as a caucus to get things done as opposed to these intramural fights that at the end of the day don’t solve any problems.” — Rep. Jim Costa
Chakrabarti tweeted, “Instead of ‘fiscally conservative but socially liberal,’ let’s call the New Democrats and Blue Dog Caucus the ‘New Southern Democrats.’ They certainly seem hell bent to do black and brown people today what the old Southern Democrats did in the 40s.”
Staffer Deletes Tweet But Continues Attack
He later deleted the tweet, only to continue with similar sentiments.
“Can we stop calling the Blue Dog Caucus ‘fiscally conservative but socially liberal?'” he tweeted later. “I missed the part of fiscal conservativeness or social liberalness that includes wasting $4.5 billion of taxpayer money to put kids in concentration camps.”
Chakrabarti noted that in other posts he “replaced” the initial post “with the same point stated differently” because “some progressives took it as a personal insult.”
His comments came on the heels of Ocasio-Cortez criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for bringing a border funding bill to a vote without changes from the Senate version pushed by Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.
“Under no circumstances should the House vote for a McConnell-only bill w/no negotiation with Democrats,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Hell no. That’s an abdication of power we should refuse to accept. They will keep hurting kids if we do.”