Trump defends Pelosi in her fight with freshmen Democrats

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

In this June 27, 2019, photo, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., prepares to do a television interview on Capitol Hill in Washington. Friday’s Hou

In this June 27, 2019, photo, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., prepares to do a television interview on Capitol Hill in Washington. Friday’s Hou

President Donald Trump speaks during an event about the census in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 11, 2019. (AP Photo

President Donald Trump speaks during an event about the census in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 11, 2019. (AP Photo

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is getting support from an unlikely source — the president — in her fight with freshmen Democrats.

Republican Donald Trump is defending top Democrat Pelosi and says Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York should treat Pelosi "with respect" — in Trump's words.

Trump also says Pelosi is "not a racist."

Ocasio-Cortez has accused Pelosi of "singling out" her and fellow freshmen - all women of color - for criticism.

Tensions between Pelosi and some younger, more progressive first-term House Democrats have become public recently and it's threatening party unity.

Just last month, as House Democrats clamored for impeachment proceedings against Trump, the president told Fox News Channel that Pelosi is a "nasty, vindictive, horrible" person.

The California Democrat later said of Trump: "I'm done with him."