House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) informed CNN reporter Anderson Cooper the attack on her husband impacted her probable political future.
Pelosi promised to step down at the end of 2022 when she won her last contested election to retain the top spot in the House. In the interview with Cooper that aired Monday, she suggested her husband’s assault would lead to her resignation if Democrats lose the House.
The Washington Post further reported:
The California Democrat’s presence has towered over the U.S. Capitol for nearly two decades since she broke the congressional glass ceiling and became the first female House speaker. Regarded by many experts as the most powerful speaker in more than 100 years, she presided over Democrats losing the majority in 2010, then defiantly remained at the helm of the caucus and led Democrats back to power in 2018.
When she reclaimed the gavel, it came with a vague promise to step down at the end of 2022, giving these past four years a sense of urgency to accomplish big legislative priorities while setting in motion a slow-moving contest among junior aspirants to win enough support to succeed her.
Potential successors to her speakership, who have already spent months behind the scenes courting support, have now gone quiet — both out of respect to their caucus leader of two decades and the desire to appear focused on trying to save their razor-thin majority that is on the line Tuesday.
Some veteran lawmakers and aides say the attack on her husband will embolden Pelosi, 82, to remain atop the caucus, even if an increasingly likely political defeat relegates her to minority leader. They contend she would never want to look as if she had been forced out by a fanatic inspired by right-wing conspiracy theories.
Others wonder if the attack provides the personal pull for Pelosi to finally leave Congress and return home to help her husband of nearly 60 years through his “long recovery,” as she has called it. Still, others suggest Pelosi probably made her decision months ago, pointing to capstone moments such as the speaker’s official visit to Taiwan in the face of sharp criticism from Beijing and the U.S. State Department — the type of journey one takes if they know they are leaving the stage.
In the interview that aired Monday, she didn’t offer any details on whether she would stay in Congress but acknowledged the attack would have an impact. “For me, this is really the hard part because Paul was not the target and he’s the one who is paying the price,” she told Anderson Cooper.
With Paul Pelosi discharged from the hospital late last week, the House speaker returned to Washington on Sunday, where she will remain for election night. A large congressional delegation leaves this week for a global climate change summit in Egypt, and while it’s unclear if Pelosi is joining those lawmakers, some hope for clarity about her decision before lawmakers take off.
House Democrats have not scheduled their leadership elections, with most expecting the secret ballot to take place in December. And no one has officially declared a candidacy for any of the top three slots. But a group of younger Democrats is agitating for Pelosi and her octogenarian compatriots, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), to all step aside.
Officially, in mid-September, Pelosi acknowledged she was undecided about her plans, growing so irritated by the congressional press corps’ repeated questions about her future that she rhetorically asked whether she was “speaking a different language” that they did not understand.
“First, we win. Then we decide,” Pelosi said.
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