A high-profile member of the "squad" of progressive new Democratic congresswomen that includes New York's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Michigan congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has ignited ire with her incendiary statements calling for "unrest in the streets".
Ayanna Pressley, representative for Massachusetts, was featured on Saturday's edition of AM Joy on MSNBC, where she addressed her concerns over changes to the US Postal Service (USPS).
"This is as much about public outcry and organising and mobilising and applying pressure so that this GOP-led Senate and these governors that continue to carry water for this administration, putting the American people in harm's way, turning a deaf ear to the needs of our families and our communities — hold them accountable", said the congresswoman.
The congresswoman urged immediate action on the part of the public in response to perceived threats to the postal system ahead of the November presidential poll in the US and the mail-in vote called upon to alleviate the risks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"Make the phone calls, send the emails, show up. You know, there needs to be unrest in the streets for as long as there's unrest in our lives", said Pressley.
Pressley's outburst triggered condemnation on the internet, as conservatives tweeted their "disgust" over the "unhinged" and "horrible" remarks.
A former adviser to Donald Trump, Sebastian Gorka tweeted a call to never "give in to the Mob".
Commentator Drew Berquist said that Pressley was encouraging "violence".
The Squad wants violence & insurrection to fight back against supposed "oppression" in the most free country on the planet where they're allowed to voice their opinions, attack the president and riot on a nightly basis...without consequence. The irony...https://t.co/Z5ihanPTny— Drew Berquist (@drewberquist) August 16, 2020
Blogger Matt Walsh similarly did not condone the "pure evil" remarks.
While neighborhoods burn, business owners lose everything, people die at the hands of looters and rioters, communities are destroyed, Ayanna Pressley, from her comfortable and safe perch, explicitly encourages more “unrest.” This is pure evil.— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) August 16, 2020
Ayanna Pressley lambasted the US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who she said should resign for "corruption", after the USPS Inspector General reportedly initiated an investigation of DeJoy last week.
The move followed demands by a group of eight Senate Democrats, led by Elizabeth Warren, to probe the changes spearheaded by him that were claimed to have slowed mail delivery.
Postal Service 'Bone of Contention'
Democrats are accusing President Donald Trump of deliberately "kneecapping" the post service by refusing to sign off on $25 billion in emergency funds for it amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
As they blast Trump for attempting to "disenfranchise voters" in November, citing warnings from the US Postal Service issued to 46 US states and Washington DC that ballots might not be delivered on time for the poll, Republicans are backing the current occupant of the White House's claim that mail-in voting could lead to massive electoral fraud.
Earlier, on 7 August, US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced organisational changes at the USPS, touted as driven by cost-slashing concerns, but slammed by critics as set to jeopardise states' plans to increase the use of mail-in ballots amid the pandemic.