Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, spokesman leave her office

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff, spokesman leave her office

WASHINGTON — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, who has been criticized by some Democratic lawmakers, will be leaving the New York Democrat’s congressional office to join an organization working on the Green New Deal, according to several reports.

Corbin Trent, Ocasio-Cortez’s communications director, will also be leaving the congressional office to join the congresswoman’s 2020 reelection campaign.

The Intercept first reported both staff moves.

Trent, in a statement to The Intercept, said that Chakrabarti will work with a group called New Consensus, a nonprofit focused on climate issues and promoting the Green New Deal.

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“We are extraordinarily grateful for his service to advance a bold agenda and improve the lives of the people in NY-14,” Trent said in the statement. “From his co-founding of Justice Democrats to his work on the Ocasio-Cortez campaign and in the official office, Saikat’s goal has always been to do whatever he can to help the larger progressive movement, and we look forward to continuing working with him to do just that.”

Chakrabarti, who co-founded Justice Democrats — a political organization that helped Ocasio-Cortez get elected — was criticized last month by Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay of Missouri. The comments came amid intra-party bickering between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Reps. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ocasio-Cortez.

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Clay called out Chakrabarti in July for a tweet where he compared moderate Democrats to “new Southern Democrats” that “certainly seem hell bent to do to black and brown people today what the old Southern Democrats did in the 40s.” The tweet has since been deleted.

In a separate tweet, Chakrabarti said centrist Democrats “still enable a racist system.”

“It shows you how ignorant and little history [Chakrabarti] knows, how ignorant he is to American history. How dare he,” Clay said at the time.

The intra-party differences seemed cool once President Donald Trump began to target Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, Omar and Tlaib — colloquially known as the “Squad” — with repeated racist attacks that were condemned by Pelosi, other Democrats, some Republicans and by a resolution passed in the House of Representatives. 

In an apparent effort to further defuse tensions, Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez recently met one-on-one. And news of the departures of Trent and Chakrabarti broke a week later.

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