AOC slammed top Democrats for backing Rep. Henry Cuellar, an anti-abortion Democrat with an A rating from the NRA.
Cuellar faced a primary challenge from progressive Jessica Cisneros, but leads her by less than 200 votes.
"This was an utter failure of leadership," said AOC. "Congress should not be an incumbent protection racket."
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York laced into top House Democrats late on Tuesday night, condemning them for working to bolster conservative Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas over a progressive challenger.
"Accountability isn't partisan. This was an utter failure of leadership," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. "Congress should not be an incumbent protection racket and sadly it is treated as such by far too many."
Cuellar, the only House Democrat with an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association and the only House Democrat to vote against a bill that would codify abortion rights into law, faced a primary challenge from progressive lawyer Jessica Cisneros. As of Wednesday morning, the incumbent congressman led Cisneros by less than 200 votes.
—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 25, 2022
But despite his conspicuous break from major party priorities, top Democrats held fundraisers and recorded robo-calls on behalf of Cuellar. That support became even more notable as a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion indicated that Roe v. Wade was likely to be overturned, and two mass shootings took place in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas.
"On the day of a mass shooting and weeks after news of Roe, Democratic Party leadership rallied for a pro-NRA, anti-choice incumbent under investigation in a close primary," Ocasio-Cortez wrote. "Robocalls, fundraisers, all of it."
Top Democrats had defended their support for Cuellar in light of the leaked abortion ruling. House Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told Insider earlier this month that the Democratic Party is a "diverse party" with "diverse opinions," while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended him as a "valued member of our caucus."
"The fact is those who fail their communities deserve to lose," Ocasio-Cortez said. "They don't need rescuing from powerful leaders who state they fight for gun safety, the right to choose, and more."
The New York congresswoman and other top progressives — including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington — had backed Cisneros, who was challenging Cuellar for the second time. And Cisneros had called on Democratic leaders to drop their support for Cuellar in light of the leaked abortion opinion.
Noting that the run-off was "extremely close," Ocasio-Cortez argued that Democratic leaders had "gone to the mat for a pro-NRA incumbent" and will have "mobilized against a badly needed grassroots" ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
She also noted that Cuellar was a member of the "Unbreakable Nine," a group of conservative House Democrats who demanded that the bipartisan infrastructure law be passed separately from the now-doomed "Build Back Better" social spending bill, which ultimately imperiled the expanded child tax credit that was set to be renewed as part of the legislation.
"We can't afford to reward such acts," she concluded. "We can do better."
Read the original article on Business Insider