Her chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, is leaving to go work for New Consensus, a nonprofit focused on climate issues that's promoting the Green New Deal, albeit not always smoothly. Ocasio-Cortez's communications director, Corbin Trent, will also depart the congresswoman's office and take over communications for her 2020 campaign, instead.
Ocasio-Cortez's office said the changes are not a result of trying to mend things with Democratic Party leadership, specifically with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), with whom she has traded barbs in the past (both lawmakers have downplayed the tensions); Chakrabarti, in particular, was mired in some of the controversy. Instead, Trent said Chakrabarti's goal "has always been to do whatever he can to help the larger progressive movement," hence his shift to climate action.
Still, that hasn't stopped observers from speculating, or at least connecting the dots between the news and past incidents, which has led to some praise for Ocasio-Cortez.
I know I was kind of taunting about AOC firing Chakrabarti, but I'm going to say something positive now: That's a sign she may be growing into the job. A good MoC knows when she has to fire a guy like that. So, I'll say: good on her. (Seriously.)
Dr. Leana Wen, the first physician to lead Planned Parenthood in decades, was removed by the organization's board on Tuesday less than a year into her tenure, The New York Times reports.
People familiar with the situation said that Wen's removal was a result of internal strife regarding her management. That was magnified by the organization's general turbulence at the moment; several states are attempting to roll back abortion rights in an attempt to chip away at Roe v. Wade. Wen allegedly did not fit the bill when it came to political action, the Times reports, and the board was reportedly looking for a more "aggressive" leader.
In Wen's stead, the board voted unanimously to appoint Alexis McGill Johnson as acting president and chief executive of both Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which provides health care services, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the political wing of the organization. McGill Johnson has served on Planned Parenthood's board for nearly a decade and was previously its chair, the Times reports.
Wen, the former Baltimore health commissioner, apparently knew her tenure was over. But she doesn't seem thrilled with how it all went down.
I just learned that the @PPFA Board ended my employment at a secret meeting. We were engaged in good faith negotiations about my departure based on philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood. My statement to come shortly.
In her statement, Wen wrote that she is leaving due to "philosophical differences" with the board, largely over their approach toward protecting abortion care. Wen said she views it "not as a political issue but a health care one." Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell