(CNN)- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi knocked congressional leaders and Trump’s chief of staff who are negotiating a deal on immigration reform over their lack of diversity.
“The five white guys, I call them,” Pelosi said during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill, referring to White House chief of staff John Kelly, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
Pelosi’s No. 2 in the House took issue with her comments.
“That comment is offensive,” Hoyer, D-Maryland, said in a statement Thursday. “I am committed to ensuring DREAMers are protected and I will welcome everyone to the table who wants to get this done.”
Cornyn spokesman Drew Brandewie said, “What a bizarre and disappointing attack on one of her own colleagues. Sen. Cornyn looks forward to working with Whip Hoyer to find a bipartisan solution.”
Although Pelosi criticized the group for its lack of diversity, Hoyer helped the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, crash the large bipartisan meeting on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program earlier this week. Lujan Grisham wasn’t on the invitation list for the session with President Donald Trump and more than 20 House and Senate members, but Hoyer took her with him, and she gained a seat at the televised session.
Pelosi also suggested that the five are attempting to delay a deal given that their talks were held separately from those of a bipartisan group of six senators whose compromise proposal Trump rejected Thursday.
But Pelosi added, “There’s plenty of other bipartisan activity going on that gives me hope that we’re pretty close.”
Congress faces a January 19 deadline for reaching an agreement on government spending, and the DACA program is set to end in early March. Congressional Democrats have insisted that a fix for DACA be part of any spending agreement.
By Veronica Stracqualursi for CNN POLITICS
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