She bows. After leading the Democrats in the House of Representatives for nearly 20 years, Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she would be stepping down her candidacy for the party’s “chairman” post in order to hand it over to “a new generation.” At 82, the woman who shaped American politics by becoming the first woman speaker of the House of Representatives will retain her seat as California’s representative, at least for now. Joe Biden hailed a “confident defender of democracy,” particularly during the storming of the Capitol, and the “most important House Speaker in our history.”
Only a dozen Republicans attended his farewell speech. The Conservative Party, which regained a narrow majority in the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, is expected to be led by Kevin McCarthy if he can garner support from the populist wing to be elected speaker in January.
Nancy Pelosi welcomed the diversity of the House of Representatives, recalling that when she entered Congress in 1987 there were only a dozen elected Democrats, compared to nearly 100 today. When she was done, the one responsible for her white and multicolored suits got the nod , but is best known for her iron fist and her negotiating skills, standing ovations, including from Republican Steve Scalise.
Nancy Pelosi praised the “achievements” to which she had contributed under three American presidents, citing George Bush, Barack Obama with historic health care reform and Joe Biden, but deliberately omitting Donald Trump.
The former US president had a contentious relationship with Nancy Pelosi, who presided over two impeachment trials against him and tore up his State of the Union address live two years ago. When Nancy Pelosi’s husband was attacked with a hammer by a conspirator who wanted to take the spokeswoman hostage, Donald Trump remained silent.
After 20 years at the helm of the Democratic Party, Nancy Pelosi will leave a void that will be difficult to fill. Who is to succeed him when his faithful lieutenant, Steny Hoyer, is also hanging up at 83? Young Democratic shooters like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will have to wait: Frontrunner is Brooklyn Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, 52, who has chaired the Democratic caucus since 2019.