Progressive Democratic lawmakers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Presley talked with "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King in their only joint network interview, speaking about President Trump's incendiary tweets about them and the state of their sometimes tense relationship with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
"The Squad" interview full transcript
GAYLE KING: Congresswomen, thank you. Thank you very much. Quoting the president yesterday, you all are people who hate our country with a passion. You hate Jewish people. And you love enemies like Al Qaeda. You hear those statements coming from the President of the United States to describe you all, and you were all lumped together and you think what?
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yeah no I think it really kind of takes me back to what I learned about in grade school about, I think about Ruby Bridges and I think about this time when people who advocated for the most vulnerable were called anti-American. And I think about the fact that when people say this is not America, I think that America has always been a story and America has always been about the triumph of people who fight for everyone versus those who want to preserve rights for just a select few. And there is no bottom to the barrel of vitriol that will be used and weaponized to stifle those who want to advance rights for all people in the United States.
REP. ILHAN OMAR: But I also want to remind people, right, it's - it's a beautiful thing to think back to what America was and the kinds of progresses we've made, but as we think about this person making this speech in the White House garden, you have to remind yourself that this is a man who spent $85,000 and basically called for the lynching of the exonerated five, of Central Park Five, young black men. This is a man who questioned the American-ness of our previous president, who started the birther controversy. Our beloved first lady still talks about how she can't forgive him. This is a man who has deep-seated animosity and hatred, who feels so small, who works so hard to make others feel beneath him and so I think it is even ludicrous for us to have the space to dignify what he says with an answer --
GAYLE KING: But when he puts the --
REP. ILHAN OMAR: -- And I just think it's really important for us to remember as much as we've dealt with high school bullies, elementary school bullies, middle school bullies, we're going to deal with him in that way and make sure that are not only resisting the detrimental policies that are coming from this administration, but we are going to do the work that the people sent us to do and insist on pushing forth an agenda (*crosstalk*) that puts all of us forward. Yeah.
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : Gayle, and that's what I want us to, that's what I want to focus on. I just want to say this. I am heartened, and we all are, encouraged and grateful for the solidarity that that has been offered by our colleagues, by our neighbors, and by a people representing every walk of life since this happened, but I do feel that I'm sort of sitting from a place of privilege that we can have this level of focus and attention about hateful tweets in the context of, you know, Eric Garner's mother today did not get justice from this Department of Justice. We can talk about and spin out on hate- about hateful words which are a predictable prompt by the occupant of this White House. And I call him that not because I don't have respect for the Oval Office--
GAYLE KING: But it sounds like you don't have respect for the Oval Office when you call the President of the United States the occupant.
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : No, because he is only occupying the space. He does not embody the principles, the responsibility, the grace, the integrity of a true president and so for that reason, I'm not dishonoring the office. He does every day. He dishonors it by appealing to the most base part of who we are as a society, but this is very predictable. This is a distraction, this is a disruption on our leading and legislating and governing on the issues of care and concern and consequence of the American people that they sent us here. This is a distraction from the corruption, the chaos and the callousness of this administration. How did we get here? We got here because of a policy debate on immigration. That's why we're here.
GAYLE KING: And--
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB : And I can tell you personally, I mean as soon as I heard that, it wasn't really about us. I thought to myself, immediately I wanted to, and I put a video out, telling all of the residents, all of the residents of the thirteenth Congressional district that believed in me, somebody like myself to serve them in the Congress- in Congress, I wanted them to know they belonged. I wanted that little girl that was inspired by all of us, in looking to all of us, I mean young people just driving, just saying thank you so much for running because I can see myself in you. I want them to know that we're unwavering --
GAYLE KING: So are you all saying when you heard the tweet --
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB : -- We are not going to back down.
GAYLE KING: -- That you did, did you take it seriously when you heard it or did you think, "There he goes again. This is a distraction. This is a pivot." What did you think when you heard the tweet?
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB : I mean for me, I'm hearing about this from folks saying did you see what the president just said at the same time that I'm getting text messages from people saying, "Rashida, what can we do? I heard ICE is now knocking on doors without warrants." I'm trying to represent my district, a very diverse district with 20 different ethnicities. And I'm trying to fight on their behalf, trying to make sure that they have a voice here. At the same time, I'm dealing with the biggest bully I've ever had to deal with in my lifetime and trying to push back on that and trying to do the job that we all have been sent here to do, which is centered around the people at home. This is a distraction. This is a person that really wants to vilify, demonize not only immigrants, but even communities of color as many of my sisters here have been talking about. It is very much a- a distraction, getting us unfocused. People want us focused on the policy, not this. And I can tell you, not only Democrats, Republicans are apologizing on his behalf. People in my community who are like, "I disagree with some of your policies, Rashida" --
GAYLE KING: Do you feel enough Republicans have spoken up against the president about those?
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Absolutely not. I mean we, we just held a vote today and not a single Republican could bring themselves, no matter what their public statement or what their public gesture or public discomfort, they could not bring themselves to have the basic human decency to vote against the statement that the president made on the floor. And when people, you know when you asked how did I feel when he tweeted that, to pull on what Rashida said, it wasn't a personal thing. It's the fact that I have been elected and we have been elected to United States Congress to - to represent between the four of us millions of people--
GAYLE KING: What, what--
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: --Millions of people.
GAYLE KING: What message does it send, do you think that very few Republicans have spoken out to condemn the president's words. What message does that send?
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB : The, the normalization of it. The fact that it's against our core American values. That they're choosing him over country. (*CROSSTALK*) Choosing him over Americans --
GAYLE KING: Ayanna, what message does it send?
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB : --American society. Like our values that's rooted.
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : But I care about the rejection, the denouncing, and the condemnation not simply from a- a values frame or from a frame of being collegial because this is an august body, a rarefied era that we operating in. Less than 12,000 have served in the history of Congress and we each feel, I feel a deep responsibility to honor that. But what I'm more concerned about are hateful and racist policies and the impact of those policies in the Massachusetts Seventh Congressional District which I represent where in a 3-mile radius, life expectancy drops by 30 years and median household income by $50,000. I'm focused on equity and justice and that's what I was sent here to do and so you know --
GAYLE KING: So are you all saying that you are not distracted by the president's tweets? The president's actions?
REP. ILHAN OMAR: No, no. And we cannot allow anybody to be distracted by it. There is a- there is a conversation that he gets to have on Twitter. That gets to be had in the Oval Office, that turns into policy. So when he, you know, haphazardly says we should not allow Muslims to- we should put a stop into Muslims entering this country and everybody says, "Oh my God, what, such a racist statement. He's Islamophobic." We don't pay attention how that's connected to the policy that he has in literally now banning Muslims.
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : And honestly Gayle--
GAYLE KING: But he has a very big megaphone. He has a very big pulpit.
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : But Gayle, it's true, but I can't muster inflated outrage and feign surprise about an act that is very consistent with who this person has shown themselves to be. We do not have the luxury of dedicating sweat equity and any more mental space to the occupant and these tweets. We have to do the work on the issues of consequence to the American people. That people are being choked by student loan debt, that people are rationing insulin, that people don't have clean drinking water and clean air. That we have a gun violence epidemic.
GAYLE KING: It's interesting that you all use the word distraction, that he is trying to, he is trying to distract away from real issues. You know, it's been said about the four of you, that the four of you are a distraction. That you're a distraction to the Democratic Party, that you're playing right into the president's hands. That he is probably loving all of this controversy and this turmoil that he's created. What do you say to people, and you have your critics too, who say you all are also a distraction? That this is not how the game in Washington is played. What do you say? That there are better ways to get your message across and make your points?
REP. ILHAN OMAR: I mean the--
GAYLE KING: What do you say?
REP. ILHAN OMAR: The insinuation of that question in it of itself is a distraction because you have to think, right, there are people who are saying that the conversations between him and Pelosi was getting in the way of her ability to negotiate with the president, and that distraction was created by him because he is inept. He doesn't have the ability to negotiate, and the fact that we are not able to have an infrastructure bill was because of that. When we talk here as an example of how detrimental the Muslim ban is as someone who comes from a country that is currently on the Muslim ban, or when we talk about his design to try to not get Muslim refugees into this country. It's gone down 91% since 2016, to have a visual representation of what Muslim Americans as refugees could achieve is a distraction he wants to create when we're having a conversation about the crisis that he's manufactured at the border with his metering policy, with his family separation policy, with his wait in Mexico policy, and now the kind of humanitarian crisis that exists and the human rights violations that are currently happening, and the three of them go down there and he starts calling us names, that's a distraction from the attention they are bringing--
GAYLE KING: But I don't want to miss the point about the criticism about the four of you--
REP. ILHAN OMAR: Hold up. What, what I want, but I want to--
GAYLE KING: I don't want to miss that point.
REP. ILHAN OMAR: But it's not about the criticism about us. I think he wants you to focus on that, and you should be asking why is that we are being criticized. What is that we bring to this body
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB : I'll tell you what we bring.
REP. ILHAN OMAR: Exactly--
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB : We're an extension of a movement in our country that wants Medicare for all--
REP. ILHAN OMAR: Right--
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB : That wants us to end mass incarceration. That wants us to push back against the attacks on communities of color. I mean, I think all of us have incredibly strong residents in our district that have spoke volumes in electing people like us--
REP. ILHAN OMAR: And we are a disruption to the business as usual that's been Washington--
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : But Gayle--
REP. ILHAN OMAR: We were elected for that purpose
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : But can I also just add--
GAYLE KING: Yes.
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : That each of us represent very different districts.
GAYLE KING: Yes.
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : And each of us bring our unique and our authentic voice to this body. We govern in our own way. What we are, are four women who have an alignment of values, shared policy priorities, who have repeatedly happen to land in the same place on the issue of immigration. That is it. There is no insurgency here. There's nothing conspiratorial.
GAYLE KING: There is no insurgency here?
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : There is no insurgency, and there's nothing conspiratorial. What we are, are four lawmakers who happened to land in the same place on the same issue time and time again that are honoring the consistency of what we said, the promises we made that were not hollow because the threats and the insults and assaults, the palpable fear that our districts are living with is very real. My district is 40% immigrant, and I don't write a bill, and I've authored five, I don't co-sponsor legislation, and I've co-sponsored about 130 bills, I don't cast a vote, and I've cast dozens, of them without conferring with the people with whom I really answer to. And that is my district. And I have the support of my district because of the vulnerability and the fear and the abuses of this, of ICE in our district, and CBP is the largest law enforcement agency with the least amount of transparency and accountability.
GAYLE KING: I can respect what you're saying. I think the better question is, it's not so much your, the dispute you're having with the president. It's the distraction, the disruption that you're having with the Speaker of the House within your own Democratic party. It doesn't seem that you're all on the same page. Is that a problem?
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I think, and it's always been my opinion that in the raucous experiment of American democracy, that dissent and discussion is an accepted and necessary part of our system of governance. If we had two parties that were party line, and every single person voted the same exact way and just followed commands of another, that is not, in its very nature democratic. I think that there are some people that may say it's disruptive, but I don't think it's disruptive at all. We're doing exactly what we were sent here to do. I, you know, we just had the close of a fundraising quarter. Eight-four percent of all of my donations come from small dollar donors, every day people.
GAYLE KING: But you know, when you say things like, the Speaker of the House is being disrespectful to women of color. Is it, is it that she's being, is she, according to you, being disrespectful to women of color because of your color or because she doesn't like your policies or the tactics that you all are talking--
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I'll clar--
GAYLE KING: To make your point.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Right, and I'll clarify. I did not say that she was disrespectful of women of color. I found some of the comments disrespectful--
GAYLE KING: Okay.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: And that was my personal opinion.
GAYLE KING: Okay.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: And I did feel that singling out on the basis of one vote was creating an opening. But that doesn't mean that we, that we fundamentally disagree or fundamentally disrespect each other's position and power and ability to be here. And that's what makes us united as a caucus.
GAYLE KING: But, but the perception though is--
REP. ILHAN OMAR: I mean there are--
GAYLE KING: Let me get to this, let me make this point because I think it's very important. The perception is, you are saying that Nancy Pelosi singled you all out because you are women of color, and that you felt--
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yeah--
GAYLE KING: Disrespected by that.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: And I think that, that personally, my personal take, is that this is part of a larger dialogue and that we don't know how to actually talk about race and talk about issues and talk about dynamics in this country because I think it's important to clarify here and to show and to highlight that pointing out an inequity does not mean that you are calling something racist. It's pointing out an inequity. But we are so sensitive to these things because we don't know how to have these conversations. We don't know how to handle these dynamics, and it creates openings for moments like these.
GAYLE KING: Are you speaking to that? Are you speaking to Nancy Pelosi?
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: On, you mean, like right now?
GAYLE KING: Yeah, in general, yes. Well, you're speaking to me right now, but--
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Our teams? Our teams--
GAYLE KING: But in general, are you in communication with her?
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Our teams are, are in communication. Our chiefs are meet--
GAYLE KING: But shouldn't it be a face-to-face with you and the speaker--
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: I agree.
CROSS-TALK: Yes. I agree. I think--
GAYLE KING: As opposed to, as opposed to your people and her people--
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Right.
GAYLE KING: Shouldn't it be a face-to-face with all of you?
REP. ILHAN OMAR: We're missing, I think, the bigger--
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: We are new, but we are new members of Congress--
GAYLE KING: I know, but I want you to answer that question--
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: But no, I'm very protective, so once I--
GAYLE KING: She doesn't. No, she does not need protecting--
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: I know that, but, but, this is my view too
GAYLE KING: She really- this woman knows how to handle herself.
REP. ILHAN OMAR: This is not personal, I don't think we should personalize--
GAYLE KING: This, this is not personal. She- she doesn't, but wait a second, with all due respect, she doesn't need protection.
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: Alright.
GAYLE KING: I want to know if you are speaking--
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: She's the new member, not the speaker.
GAYLE KING: No, but I want to know--
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: She has every right to sit down with her in any moment, anytime, with any of us. She is Speaker of the House. She can ask for a meeting to sit down with us for clarification. The fact of the knowledge is and I've done racial justice work in our country for a long time. Acknowledge the fact that we are women of color, so when you do single us out, be aware of that and what you're doing especially because some of us are getting death threats, because some of us are being singled out in many ways because of our backgrounds, because of our experiences and so forth. But I think the question should be--
GAYLE KING: Alexandria, are you interested in having a conversation face-to-face--
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Oh, absolutely--
GAYLE KING: With speaker, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi--
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Absolutely.
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: Why wouldn't she sit down with her?
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yeah, no, absolutely, and we've reached out to that end.
GAYLE KING: And you've reached out to have a meeting with her?
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY: But Gayle, can I just say that this is a deliberative body, and I personally would never spot or question how any of my colleagues, in their deliberation, arrives at how they will ultimately cast that vote on the House floor. This is a representative democracy and ultimately, notwithstanding the caucus and even our party, we were sent here on a mandate by our districts, and when we cast those votes, we cast them alone.
GAYLE KING: So were you offended because--
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY: So I would never question--
GAYLE KING: Because the House Speaker said you all had four votes and that's all you had when she was talking about the- is that what you were offended about?
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: I'll tell you what I'm more offended about.
GAYLE KING: I'm going to get to you in a second. I can see you're very chatty. I'm going to get to you. But are you offended because she did not, because of the way she responded to the…There was the vote and it was only your four votes?
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY: We are in a Democratic majority. This is a huge freshmen class. The only class that has rivaled us in size were the Watergate Babies, against a very similar backdrop of corruption and chaos, right. And so because we are such a big caucus, there is a diversity of lived experience, of ideologies. Even if we are fundamentally bound by the same core values.
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY: And for that reason, it is a representative democracy, and I would never question how a colleague arrives at that vote. Because if they can defend it to their God, to their conscience and to their districts, we take those votes alone.
GAYLE KING: Congresswoman Tlaib, do you regret, it was your first day and you called the President of the United States, you said I'm going to, we're going to impeach that M-F. Do you think that kind of language is helpful and what did you hope would come of that? On your first day?
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: No. I mean from day one I truly believe that he has committed impeachable offenses. And, me--
GAYLE KING: But even if you believe that, the fact that you called him.
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: But I didn't do it on the House Floor. And I'm gonna be unapologetic in myself. Seventy percent of Americans curse. I am real. This is who I am. I'm rooted in where I come from and it's very common for me and for many in my residence to say things like that. But--
GAYLE KING: So you don't regret, you don't regret that?
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: Absolutely not. I'm unapologetic about it. I'm definitely, definitely going to push forward in saying we have to impeach him. But, I think for me growing up in a Northern border, where I personally saw ICE, personally saw ICE stop people and ask them for their documentation. Where I see the militarization of my community in Southwest Detroit. Where, I mean, people jogging around a park, Gayle, getting asked and stopping.
GAYLE KING: I know, I know.
REP RASHIDA TLAIB: And where I've seen actual ICE come up to schools.
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: Schools and trying to pick up parents from, in front of school, elementary school. One in front of a daycare. So this is very personalized for me --
GAYLE KING: But let's go back to impeachment for just a second. Let's go back to impeachment for just a second.
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB : But I think that experience needs to be at the table. Why I voted against funding.
GAYLE KING: And why you feel the way you do. But on paper you do not have the votes for impeachment. On paper you don't have it. So what is the point of going through the exercise of impeachment when it doesn't look like it will go anywhere?
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB : The Watergate Class didn't have the votes on the Senate side. They didn't function from that place. They functioned in putting the country first and they functioned in doing what's right.
GAYLE KING: Ayanna?
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : Gayle, if that were true then we might as well pack it up and go home. Why are we leading and legislating on everything from gun violence prevention to climate to consumer protection. Why are we leading and legislating and moving bills out of this House when they are not being moved in the Senate? You know, this is about our demonstrating a strength of conviction and acting on these issues of consequence to the American people.
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : How many times did Senator Kennedy look to advance health care? So, you know, ultimately the, the victory, sometimes the the victory is in the fight. Even if you don't win in the official—
REP. ILHAN OMAR : Even if- even when
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY --and textbook way.
REP. ILHAN OMAR : Even when the Nixon impeachment began, 67 something like 67 Americans- 67 percent of Americans didn't believe in impeaching the president. And within ten months it was something in the lower 20's. And so right now we're at 57 percent of Americans don't believe in impeachment, and I believe within a few months we can probably get it--
GAYLE KING: AOC, I've heard people say, you know, you're new here. Shouldn't you wait and get the lay of the land to understand how Washington works.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ : I think, one of the things that's funny, I-I and I'm not laughing at you. I'm laughing at the sentiment because--
GAYLE KING: You've heard that sentiment?
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: I've heard- Oh, absolutely.
GAYLE KING: I'm not the first person that said that to you?
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: No. Absolutely not.
GAYLE KING: Yes.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: But not just me, but the entire Freshmen Class I would argue, regardless of ideology, was sent here because Americans are sick of how Washington works. So why would I learn a broken playbook, where lobbyists have taken over this place? Where they influence all the bills? Where we vote on things because they've how- that's how things have always been done here. Americans are not getting wage increases. Our government is continuing to sew dysfunction.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Why would we operate business as usual when business as usual is not serving the public?
GAYLE KING: I heard you very loud and clear, Congresswoman Tlaib, when you said you are unapologetic, you are not backing down. Which brings me to you, Congresswoman Omar. Do you regret- you know, you- you took a lot of flack for your comments about Israel: that 'It's all about the Benjamin's'. Do you regret that you said that? Do you wish that you had chosen your words more carefully? You're being accused of being anti-Semitic.
REP. ILHAN OMAR: Yeah, I mean regret wouldn't be the way that I would describe what I feel--
GAYLE KING: What would you describe?
REP. ILHAN OMAR: I think, you know, oftentimes there are uh things that you might say- might not hold weight for you but to someone else, right, the way that we hear and consume information is very different than how the next person uh might. I remember talking to Keith Ellison about uh some words that might hold weight for black people, and I said I- I don't know why that would be offensive.
REP. ILHAN OMAR: And he said, Ilhan, because you're an African immigrant. You don't- you might not understand. Um and so we- we have different, I think, ability um and opportunity to learn from one another.
GAYLE KING: So you don't regret your words either?
REP. ILHAN OMAR: I do not. But I have gotten the, I- I am grateful um for the opportunity to really learn how my words made people feel um and have taken uh every single opportunity I've gotten to um to make sure that people understood um that I- I apologize for it—
GAYLE KING: Would you like people to-
REP. ILHAN OMAR: And I never really wanted to--
GAYLE KING: Would you want to make it clear that you are not anti-Semitic?
REP. ILHAN OMAR: Oh, certainly not. Yes.
GAYLE KING: Would you like to make that clear?
REP. ILHAN OMAR: Yes! I mean that nothing I said, at least to me, was meant for that purpose. And- and I have taken I think every single opportunity I've gotten to make sure that people understand that my work and one of my responsibilities is to make sure that we are dealing with the issue of anti-Semitism. That as I fight hard to deal with Islamophobia that I am going to do the same thing because I understand that both of our communities are under threat with white supremacy.
REP. ILHAN OMAR: And- and I think it's completely unfair um for that title to be--
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : But can I say I think some of the challenge is, because our caucus is so big. And the old adage is true and it's certainly been my lived experience every day that you can't do good work, if you're not in good relationship. It is very challenging to be in good relationship and I think. First of all, I challenge people all the time in their- in their verbiage and their word usage.
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : To not use words like tolerance. No one wants to be tolerated. What we need to foster is understanding and empathy and that's very challenging. You know, we have you know long, intense days. We work at the end of the day on our lines of questioning for committee the next day. It is not an environment that is really conducive to fostering understanding and empathy and building relationship.
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : And so we, all of us, have to be much more intentional about that because I think every single member here, and I mean in the whole Congress, not just in our caucus stands to learn something from one another.
GAYLE: I like that- that phrase. I'm gonna use it I might not credit you, but you said you can't do good work without good relationships. I think that's very important and very key. As we sit here today, there appears to be a fractured relationship between "the Squad," the four of you, and Nancy Pelosi. Do any of you think that that relationship needs to be repaired? Or that there needs to be work done to heal that relationship? Is there a fracture?
REP. ILHAN OMAR: I don't feel a fracture.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: I don't. I don't. I think that just like there were- just as there were members of Congress that did not vote for the Speaker on the House Floor the day of our swearing in, just as there are members who challenge her conclusions who disagree with her, so do we from time-to-time. But that does not mean that there is a fundamental fracture or a dehumanizing going on within our caucus.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: This is, I think after eight years of a Republican majority, where they're used to the party being lock step no matter how inhumane and how depraved the legislation they were passing were- was, we're not used to a governing majority that actually talks and dissents and debates and disagrees. And so we think, and so because we're used to eight years of just following orders from the Republican caucus, when you see Democrats in power, and we're actually willing to debate on issues and say we come from different places we think of it as almost like, you know, we're- we think of it as bizarre .
GAYLE KING: Well we haven't had eight years of the Republicans though. We haven't had that.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well in the House.
GAYLE KING: Oh okay okay.
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : And we haven't been in the majority for eight years.
GAYLE KING: Okay, okay. I see what you're saying. Facebook has a mantra, used to have a mantra: move fast, breaks things. Does that resonate with you all? Move fast break things?
REP. ILHAN OMAR: If we are breaking systems of oppression, if we are breaking the gridlock in Washington, if we are breaking the status quo
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB : I like to think about growing and nurturing and loving
REP. ILHAN OMAR: Let's say, we do want to break all of those things.
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB : Yeah but--
REP. ILHAN OMAR: And then what we wanna do is we want to build a system that works for all of us. We want to make sure that we have an opportunity um to ah be in relationships with one another. We do want to create a system that is of the people, for the people. Many of the policies that we advocate, whether it is Medicare for all, or cancelling out student debt, or dealing with our climate crisis, most of those policies poll at 70 percent plus. The American people are --
GAYLE KING: Do you like being – cause I know they have to go -- do you like being call "The Squad" and were did that come from? I've been looking, nobody can tell me the answer to that (LAUGHTER and overtalk).
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : I will offer the genesis of this because again it's nothing conspiratorial. Very organic. So we um, none of us had met. I mean I had actually, Alex and I had met once before. And we showed up at new member orientation. We were asked to do an interview because we each represent firsts in our own rights. Right? And so we did this interview and at the end of the interview, they said, "Will you all take a picture?" And we took a picture --
GAYLE KING: It was just the four of you?
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : Yes because we were the four being interviewed as firsts. And at the end of that interview, we took the photo and I'm not sure who said it, but just --
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: It was me. (LAUGHS)
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY : -- within the context of *CROSSTALK* social media culture, she said, "Oh let's just do a hashtag squad goals or something like that *CROSSTALK*
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: It was squad goals.
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY: And then it morphed into this thing. But I said, I've been saying in the days leading up to this moment that the reality is that anyone, to your point that it's not just about dismantling, but what we're intentional about building and fostering, anyone who is committed to the work of building a more equitable and just world is a part of the squad. That's you, Gayle. That's anyone that wants to put in this work and I do want to underscore work because in 2018, there was a lot of talk about magic and waves. If there was a wave, we didn't ride it, we created it. And I would give short shift to our magic, but what we put in here every day is work. And so anyone committed to doing the work of a more equitable and just world is a part of the squad. It is so much bigger than us. *CROSSTALK*
GAYLE KING: Let's wrap up - let's wrap up with this. You're all new. Everybody pleased with how it's going? How you're playing it? You're- no regrets? No do-overs in your- everybody's ok with how it's going? (crosstalk) Proud of the work you are doing?
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: I feel good. I feel immensely proud of the work that we're doing. We're sitting here, you know, in the Oversight Committee of the United States Congress. Um, Ilhan doesn't sit on the committee, but Ayanna, Rashida and my seats are right there. And from there, we have talked about and -- we've gotten millions of dollars in refunds from, from federal contractors that have been defrauding the public. We have gotten, we have gotten PrEP HIV medication to go generic. We have impacted the lives --
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB : Childhood trauma.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: -- we have had the first-- Ayanna hosted the first ever hearing in American history in front of this committee, in front of the Oversight Committee, on childhood trauma.
GAYLE KING: So as I listen to you four today, the Squad, it doesn't sound like you are going to change the way you do business? (off camera chatter) Okay. It doesn't sound like you're going to change the way you do business.
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: Why would we? This is what our district wanted.
REP. ILHAN OMAR: This is our moment.
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: No, what our district voted for.
REP. ILHAN OMAR: This is the work we got elected to do.
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