US President Donald Trump has said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “not a racist”, chiming in on the dispute between Mrs Pelosi and the newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC).
Speaking to reporters on Friday while preparing to board Marine One, Trump said "I'll tell you something about Nancy Pelosi that you know better than I do, she is not a racist. OK?”
“For them to call her a racist is a disgrace,” he added.
He went on to say that Ocasio-Cortez "should not be doing what she's doing" and that she is being "very disrespectful to somebody that's been there a long time."
Despite the rocky relationship between the speaker and the president since she assumed the role of speaker, Pelosi has refused to go along with the plans of those who seek the impeachment of the President, which has led to her receiving criticism from fellow democrats.
The row comes amid accusations by AOC and by other freshman democrats, namely: Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
The group has been dubbed “the squad” and has characterized Nancy Pelosi's criticism of progressive Democrats as an act of “singling out of women of colour."
Pelosi gave a fervent call for unity among Democrats and implored them to focus their efforts on Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.
Ocasio-Cortez stood by her accusations in an interview with CNN on Thursday:
"It's really just pointing out the pattern, right? We're not talking about just progressives, it's signaling out four individuals. And knowing the media environment that we're operating in, knowing the amount of death threats that we get, knowing the amount of concentration of tension, I think it's just worth asking why."
However, when asked if she believes Pelosi holds racist views, Ocasio-Cortez resolutely denied it, saying: "No, no, absolutely not, absolutely not."
This comes as the divisions between new progressive House Democrats and the old guard begin to materialise.
Supporters of Mrs Pelosi have since come out to criticise the statements of Ocasio-Cortez and her allies.
Missouri Rep. Lacy Clay of Missouri slammed AOC for using "the race card."
"Because you can't get your way, and because you are-, you're getting pushback, you resort to use the race card? Unbelievable. Unbelievable to me." he added.
Ocasio-Cortez's Chief of Staff was also attacked for comparing Democratic moderates to segregationists in a tweet, which has since been deleted.