HomePoliticsPelosi reflects on transition from ‘awesome power’ to ‘strong influence’

Pelosi reflects on transition from ‘awesome power’ to ‘strong influence’


Energy, freedom and the methods by which the previous may most successfully be wielded to realize the latter had been very a lot on Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s thoughts Thursday morning.

The evening earlier than, the California Democrat had welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the Capitol, the place he delivered a rousing speech to a joint meeting of Congress throughout a shock go to to Washington, his first journey outdoors Ukraine since Russia invaded the nation in February.

Zelensky’s speech was a part of “a momentous week for our democracy,” Pelosi declared Thursday in her ultimate information convention as speaker. It had additionally reminded her of one other second from a long time in the past, when Winston Churchill, prime minister of the UK, spoke to Congress in 1941, as World Battle II was underway. Within the viewers was Pelosi’s father, Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., then a younger congressman from Maryland. Pelosi herself was a toddler on the time.

“It all the time was a supply of delight to me that my father was there that day and now a supply of delight that I may very well be there to listen to one other heroic chief of … a rustic at conflict, come ask for assist,” Pelosi mentioned. “When Winston Churchill got here … he mentioned, ‘We’re doing the noblest job on this planet, not solely defending our hearths and houses, however the reason for freedom in each land.’ A lot the theme, a lot the widespread function of President Zelensky.”

In a matter of days, Pelosi, 82, will relinquish the speaker’s gavel and step down from get together management after 20 years. In 2006, she turned the primary lady elected speaker, after serving 4 years as minority chief. Final month, after Republicans retook the Home majority within the midterm elections, Pelosi announced that the hour had come “for a brand new era” to steer the Democratic caucus. She’s going to stay a lawmaker representing the San Francisco space.

In farewell speeches and occasions, Pelosi has spent the previous few weeks emphasizing the significance of defending democracy, turning a lame-duck session of Congress into her swan track of types as a foil in opposition to former president Donald Trump. She opened her ultimate information convention Thursday thanking reporters, calling them “guardians of democracy,” a pointy distinction to Trump’s assaults on the press.

Her remarks additionally got here simply earlier than a ultimate report was set to be launched by the Home choose committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, rebel, when a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol searching for to cease the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral win.

“The 117th Congress started with a violent assault on our democracy, and now we hear its conclusions,” Pelosi mentioned. “Now we have an important highway map, guaranteeing justice will probably be performed and that this gained’t occur once more.”

As she usually does, Pelosi averted calling out Trump particularly, as a substitute referring to him Thursday as “what’s his title” when itemizing the presidents she has labored with. The 2 had a famously tumultuous relationship when Trump was in workplace, a rigidity that birthed a thousand memes, as Pelosi challenged him in the White House, clapped at him wryly and tore up a copy of his third State of the Union speech.

The animosity was returned in orders of magnitude from Trump and his supporters. Footage from the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection confirmed that, whereas rioters strode by way of the Capitol’s hallways with bear spray and physique armor in quest of Pelosi — yelling “The place are you, Nancy?” and “Deliver her out!” — she remained calm as she made efforts to succeed in the Nationwide Guard and procure the protection of her fellow lawmakers.

Nonetheless, when requested Thursday to replicate on her time as get together chief, Pelosi mentioned her most troublesome job was not wrangling votes for the 2010 Reasonably priced Care Act or attempting to remain protected throughout an assault on the Capitol. As an alternative, she cited being a minority chief alongside a Democratic president and having to persuade her caucus members to maintain a presidential veto in opposition to GOP laws.

“The Republicans would roll out stuff that gave the impression of a chocolate sundae, but it surely’s extra like doggy doo,” she mentioned. “So I’d reasonably be writing the Reasonably priced Care Act or some other large laws than to need to go to my members and say, ‘My pal, in friendship, I really want your vote to maintain the president’s veto.’ That was the toughest.”

On Oct. 13, the Jan. 6 Committee performed a video of Home Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate chief Schumer (D-N.Y.) and GOP leaders in the course of the Capitol assault. (Video: The Washington Publish, Photograph: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Publish)

Pelosi mentioned she had not had any formal conversations with Home Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who’s searching for to develop into Home speaker subsequent yr, however mentioned she didn’t assume anybody wanted her recommendation.

“You’ve heard me say even about our personal distinguished management. I’m not going to be the mother-in-law who is available in and says, that is the best way my son likes his turkey, stuffing, his scrambled eggs or the rest. They need to have their very own vitality about all of it. They usually do,” Pelosi mentioned. “I’m simply hoping that on Jan. third that they’ll be expeditiously capable of elect a speaker in order that we are able to get on with the work of the Congress.”

Pelosi acknowledged that she could be transitioning from a job that comes with “superior energy” to at least one with nonetheless “robust,” if subtler affect, notably on girls who may need to run for workplace. Pelosi recalled how, when she arrived in Congress in 1987, there have been solely 23 girls within the Home out of 435 lawmakers.

“I would like girls to have faith,” Pelosi mentioned. “So generally once I act a little bit extra, let’s say, like myself, it’s as a result of I would like them to comprehend it’s okay to say your self, to have faith in what you convey to the desk, and likewise to know your uniqueness.”

Pelosi ended by citing President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech, which she mentioned she recalled attending within the “freezing chilly.” Most individuals bear in mind the penultimate sentence, she mentioned, recalling Kennedy’s speech: “Ask not what your nation can do for you, however what you are able to do for our nation.” However Pelosi mentioned it was the subsequent sentence that struck her: “Ask not what America will do for you, however what collectively we are able to do for the liberty of man.”

She has advised Biden that he has fulfilled in so some ways what Kennedy was signaling in his potential to rally worldwide assist for Ukraine.

“Working along with all the nations to return collectively to assist Ukraine, not by dictating what we predict is the best way to go, however by way of listening, working collectively so that everyone felt dedicated to a plan for the liberty of mankind,” Pelosi mentioned. “And that’s how I tie being there as my father’s daughter on the inauguration to what occurred this week and what our duties are later.”

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