WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 03: Member elect Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) talks to fellow members of Congress during the first session of the 116th Congress at the U.S. Capitol January 03, 2019 in Washington, DC. Under the cloud of a partial federal government shutdown, Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reclaimed her former title as speaker and her fellow Democrats took control of the House of Representatives for the second time in eight years.(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 03: Member elect Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) talks to fellow members of Congress during the first session of the 116th Congress at the U.S. Capitol January 03, 2019 in Washington, DC. Under the cloud of a partial federal government shutdown, Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reclaimed her former title as speaker and her fellow Democrats took control of the House of Representatives for the second time in eight years.(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Now playing
01:39
She is the youngest member of Congress
banon wayne split
banon wayne split
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
02:00
Trump pardons 73 people, commutes sentences of 70 others
US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (2nd L) with husband Douglas Emhoff and US President-elect Joe Biden (R) with wife Dr. Jill Biden watch as a Covid-19 Memorial is lighted at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, on January 19, 2021 to honor the lives of those lost to Covid-19. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (2nd L) with husband Douglas Emhoff and US President-elect Joe Biden (R) with wife Dr. Jill Biden watch as a Covid-19 Memorial is lighted at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, on January 19, 2021 to honor the lives of those lost to Covid-19. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
03:42
'Striking': Tapper on Biden's Covid-19 memorial being first of its kind
trump farewell message
trump farewell message
PHOTO: White House Photo
Now playing
03:18
Trump offers 'best wishes' to new administration in farewell address
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 17: The U.S. Capitol dome is seen beyond a security fence on January 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 17: The U.S. Capitol dome is seen beyond a security fence on January 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week's riots at the U.S. Capitol Building, the FBI has warned of additional threats in the nation's capital and in all 50 states. According to reports, as many as 25,000 National Guard soldiers will be guarding the city as preparations are made for the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th U.S. President. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
Now playing
01:15
12 Army National Guard members removed from inauguration duty
Trump turns to reporters as he exits the White House to walk toward Marine One on the South Lawn on January 12, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Trump turns to reporters as he exits the White House to walk toward Marine One on the South Lawn on January 12, 2021 in Washington, DC.
PHOTO: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Now playing
04:13
'He is actually worried': Collins reports on Trump pardon meeting
Left to right: Janet Yellen, Alejandro Mayorkas, Avril Haines, Lloyd Austin, and Antony Blinken
Left to right: Janet Yellen, Alejandro Mayorkas, Avril Haines, Lloyd Austin, and Antony Blinken
PHOTO: AFP & Getty Images
Now playing
04:32
Take a look at Biden's top cabinet nominees
Now playing
01:50
Ashley Biden on Beau's memory and the White House transition
PHOTO: Pool/Getty Images
Now playing
02:04
Mitch McConnell: Capitol rioters were fed lies
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:51
Why Black voters are hopeful for change under Biden administration
Bill Barr itvnews
Bill Barr itvnews
PHOTO: itv news
Now playing
02:22
Election fraud rhetoric 'precipitated riots' says Barr
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
01:49
Reporter details differences between Trump and Biden's inaugurations
Now playing
03:11
Avlon looks back at Trump's Inauguration Day promises
Nuclear codes Biden Trump
Nuclear codes Biden Trump
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
02:22
From Trump to Biden: How transfer of nuclear codes will work
Now playing
04:22
Trump's influential supporters spoke of what was coming before riot
McCarthy
McCarthy
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:40
'Far too close:' Army secretary reveals sobering details on riot
(CNN) —  

Nancy Pelosi didn’t get to where she is without learning how to troll with the best of them. And in an interview with USA Today released Monday, the speaker of the House again turns her gaze to the most famous/infamous freshman House member in recent memory: New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Asked about the difficulties of governing a caucus in the House that is being challenged at every turn by AOC and others like her – liberals elected in the past few cycles who are deeply skeptical of the party establishment – Pelosi said this: “While there are people who have a large number of Twitter followers, what’s important is that we have large numbers of votes on the floor of the House.”

Now, Pelosi didn’t mention AOC by name. But you’d have to be a real dummy to not understand who she was talking about. Ocasio-Cortez has 3.9 million Twitter followers, by far the most of any House member – including Pelosi (2.4 million followers). And AOC is an active Twitter user – often employing the social media site to call out what she believes to be unfairness within the Democratic Party or to push back on media stories about her.

Pelosi’s not-so-subtle shot at AOC isn’t an isolated event either. In February, she was asked about the “Green New Deal,” a sweeping legislative proposal that Ocasio-Cortez has been closely aligned with that aims to address the challenges of climate change. “It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive,” Pelosi said dismissively. “The green dream, or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it, right?”

Yeaaaaaah.

If you think Pelosi’s comments on AOC are accidental and not meant to send a very clear message to AOC, you don’t know much about Pelosi. What message is she sending? This one: Look, I have been a liberal’s liberal for longer than you’ve been on earth. But not everyone House Democrat represents districts like we do. And we need to understand that they are governed by a different set of political realities. The most important thing we do isn’t score ideological points. It’s pass legislation as a united caucus –to show all Americans we are doing the work, not just playing partisan games.

Pelosi’s comments come amid a broader showdown between the party establishment and the newly-energized liberal wing. The leading edge of that fight is a decision by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of the party, to ban giving any business (aka money) to consultants who work for candidates who primary sitting incumbents. The goal is simple: The threat of losing business will keep top consultants away from primary challengers. That will, theoretically, mean fewer primary challengers. Which establishment Democrats – led by DCCC Chair Rep. Cheri Bustos – believe is a very good thing.

AOC, who herself ousted an incumbent to claim her seat in 2018, took to Twitter to protest the move. She called the policy “extremely divisive & harmful to the party” and recommended that small-dollar donors “pause” on making contributions to the DCCC and instead focus on giving to vulnerable incumbents in swing seats.

These fault lines within the House Democratic caucus are, in some ways, the natural result of winning the majority. The more seats you control, the more likely it is that you have people from all over the ideological spectrum – each of whom wants their way to be the way.

It’s also part of an even broader fight happening within the Democratic Party at the moment as activists and candidates navigate a post-Obama and post-Clinton landscape. At the presidential level you have Joe Biden, the former vice president as the ur-establishment figure while Bernie Sanders – and a number of other candidates – are offering a more liberal, outsider perspective.

Pelosi, for her part, is matter-of-fact when it comes to the political realities facing the party – and the challenges from liberals to move the center of gravity further to the left. “As I say to my own district, ‘You go out and elect 218 people, just like San Francisco, then we can talk,’” she told USA Today.