Nancy Pelosi is stepping down from the leadership of House Democratic caucus

This is a real end of an era for the Democratic Party. Nancy Pelosi will not seek a leadership position within the House for the next session of Congress. The Republicans took back the House by a very slim margin in the midterms, so Pelosi will no longer be Speaker of the House anyway. But even when Democrats were in the House minority in the past twenty years, Pelosi was one of the most respected and efficient Democratic leaders. She was always able to keep the Democratic caucus in line, she stood up to Republican presidents, she shaped Democratic politics and policies for several generations and she – alongside Joe Biden, arguably – had the most institutional memory of how Washington works.

Nancy Pelosi, the first female speaker of the House, who helped shape many of the most consequential laws of the early 21st century, said Thursday that she will step down after two decades as the Democratic Party’s leader in the chamber.

“With great confidence in our caucus I will not seek re-election to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” Pelosi said in a speech on the House floor.

Pelosi was speaker from 2007 to 2011 and returned to the top job in 2019. She announced her decision just a day after NBC News and other news outlets projected that Republicans had flipped control of the House in last week’s midterm election, sending Pelosi and the Democrats back to the minority.

More personally, just weeks ago, her husband of nearly 60 years, Paul Pelosi, survived an assault by a hammer-wielding intruder at the family’s home in San Francisco.

Pelosi won’t be leaving Congress after she won her 19th term last week. She is expected to remain, at least temporarily, given the GOP’s razor-thin majority.

As Pelosi took the mic, the chamber was packed with Democratic lawmakers, while the Republican side of the aisle was largely empty — a symbol of how politics have changed over Pelosi’s 3½ decades in the House. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., did not attend or watch the speech, citing “meetings,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., was present. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., crossed the Capitol to watch Pelosi speak, while the front row on the Democratic side of the chamber was filled with fellow female lawmakers from California.

[From NBC News]

It’s likely that Hakeem Jeffries will take Pelosi’s place as House Minority Leader, and with Pelosi staying in the House, she will likely use this time to mentor Jeffries and other House Democrats. While some of the Democratic caucus grumbled about Pelosi, her age or her methods, no one can deny that she was deeply respected and she held the caucus together for decades, through thick and thin. One of her most awe-inspiring moments was on January 6th, 2021, when she rode out the insurrection and used her cell phone to keep the government together, to call in the calvary by contacting governors, by speaking to the SecDef and the Joint Chiefs and telling VP Pence not to let anyone know his location.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid and Cover Images.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

45 Responses to “Nancy Pelosi is stepping down from the leadership of House Democratic caucus”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Becks1 says:

    Wasn’t this the deal? People are acting really surprised but wasn’t this the agreement when she became Speaker back in 2019, that basically the Dems needed her desperately then but there was concern about the future of party leadership in Congress, so Pelosi said she would serve out that term and give the party time to establish some leaders in waiting?

    So here we are, and I’m sure she’ll still be a huge presence in the House.

    • Lala11_7 says:

      EXACTLY! This was ALWAYS the deal…and it is at A PERFECT TIME…in the PERFECT situation…this is the first time in my LIFE…that a midterm election came out EXACTLY the way I wanted coming up to the reelection of a DEM POTUS…we lost the House due to gerrymandering…but we STILL flipped 6 seats & the margin of loss is slim AF…EVERY election denier was defeated…we FLIPPED AZ/MI…we GOT the Mayor’s & Govenors we needed…AND we picked up a Senate Seat..Now the GOP will put on their 🤡 SHOW in Congress for 2 years…while Hakeem drags TF outta of them…cause his mouth is OFF THA CHAIN ❤️ While my Queen Nancy & Hoyer & Kingmaker Clyburn…give guidance to the new leaders…getting them ready for 2024…


      • Becks1 says:

        Right! This is the perfect time to do it. Hakeem is amazing and I think he’s going to do a great job (if he wins which I think he will) and Pelosi and Hoyer and Clyburn will be there doing their thing in the background, making sure that Hakeem has the support he needs and keeping the party in line.

      • GingerBiscuit says:

        When I heard that Hakeem Jeffries is likely to take her spot I cheered! Because Hakeem is not afraid to tell the Republicans how it is, and calls out their hypocrisy and lies to their face. FINALLY, we have an outspoken fighter for the people of this country and not some mealy mouthed “lets all be civil and nice and blah blah blah.” He understands that Republicans don’t play fair and is ready to get down for real. HOORAY!!!

    • LightPurple says:

      It was and she has hand-picked and trained the incoming leadership for years.

      Katherine Clark, my representative, is her choice for minority whip and Pelosi has been training her for leadership for the past 6 years.

      • Concern Fae says:

        I’m in Clark’s district, too. She is amazing.

        My one real criticism of the Dem leadership is that there should have been no criticism of Nancy staying on, but Steny Hoyer should have stepped aside ages ago. Older leaders are one thing, but when the number twos and other backups are from the same cohort, there needs to be a shakeup. If you don’t have people from multiple age groups with leadership experience, you are risking the future to serve egos.

      • Kitten says:

        Clark is my rep now too, Lilac, and I think she’d be a great fit for the job.

    • Josephine says:

      It was exactly the deal but everyone is used to politicians ignoring the promises that were made, and honestly, it felt like she was considering staying but maybe I’m totally wrong on that. It’s time in my opinion. Some new leadership and ideas will hopefully be an energizer.

  2. Genevieve says:

    I’m not American, but I have feelings about this. She’s a deeply impressive woman, and honestly, an inspiration. I also think if she’s ready for a break, she’s entitled to it. But I’m also so angry because I think she’s been driven out by violence that was the culmination of decades of demonizing, and the leadership of the other party had barely a flicker of conscience about what they caused for the Pelosis personally, or democracy in general. I’m furious.

    • Lemons says:

      Honestly, at that age…if you’re being driven out there’s a problem. I’m glad that she is letting the Dems build up a new generation of leaders in the party.

      • Concern Fae says:

        This casual acceptance of political violence is deeply dangerous.

        A large part of why we are here is that people who did not denounce the violence at abortion clinics were allowed to maintain political acceptability and even maintain their moral righteousness.

    • Brassy Rebel says:

      No, she wasn’t driven out. This was always the timetable. And, yes, she is deeply impressive but it’s time for younger leaders in the party. We can only hope that they are half as effective as Nancy Pelosi.

    • Truthiness says:

      She was not driven out. She’d said in 2018 that she would stop at 2022 and she’s been mentoring a younger trio. Hakeem is eloquent and she’ll still be in the House to help with all the various learning curves. She prepared for all this.

    • Kitten says:

      Eh. She’s impressive for sure and there are aspects of her career that lend credence to the notion that few people in her position could have accomplished as much. That being said, the stock trading shit was always sus as hell and definitely not compatible with leftist principles IMO. She’s not the only one in Congress to do this but all of them should be banned from what basically amounts to insider trading.

      Anyway, it’s time for her to go, along with other senior Dem leaders who have been in power for far too long and have much less to show for it than Pelosi does. We need leadership that is willing to match the GOP’s level of fight. It is well past time.

  3. C-Shell says:

    And Steny Hoyer is also stepping aside. I hope they do a very warm handoff to their successors because, while the Democratic bench has a lot of talent waiting to step up, they just don’t have the heft and skills that Nancy could wield. She’s earned this break!

  4. Brassy Rebel says:

    On January 6th, 2021, she was, in effect, our first woman president. She held it together when none of the Trump men would or could.

  5. Blue says:

    Nancy is one of the most skillful politicians of this era and has worked brilliantly. Despite the slurs & aspersions cast by AOC when she was brand new to her own job, Nancy can teach a lot to the younger Dems. Glad she’s sticking around for a while.

  6. LightPurple says:

    Nancy Pelosi is most likely the greatest Speaker we have ever seen in the USA. We owe her so very much. And she’s still working for us.

    And now, onward and upward Hakeem and Katherine! You are following a legend and a goddess, may you be up to the parts.

    ETA and the behavior of several Republicans, most notably leadership like Scalise and Elise Stefanik, has been disgraceful

    • DeeSea says:

      This is my take as well. I’m profoundly grateful to Pelosi for her dedicated, principled, and tireless service. She sacrificed a LOT and endured a LOT to keep the wheels on this bus. We’ll probably never know the half of it. I’m grateful that she’ll continue to serve in a scaled-back capacity, and I hope she can relax and enjoy life a bit more now. I’m thrilled that Jeffries is poised to carry the baton next; he’s exactly who I would’ve picked if anyone had asked for my opinion, haha. Go get em, Hakeem!!!

  7. ElleE says:

    Max Mara literally brought back an updated version of the name famous White House coat in the picture (it was about 8 seasons old at the time) after those pics went viral.

    Weird how republican women seemingly have no influence on the fashion world; an industry that seeks to be reactive and to reflect the changes in society. No snark – but even when Republican women try to take control of the fashion narrative an open their own fashion lines, they fail.

    That is a metaphor for something. I think.

    • Korra says:

      This is the kind of influence Melania and Ivanka wanted, and Casey DeSantis is pushing her precious little Ronnie to the top in order to have herself. But you are right, you don’t see this type of influence coming from Republican women. Really says something.

      • Deering24 says:

        One of the (extremely) few enjoyable things about the Trump years was watching Melania and Ivanka flounder and fail at becoming fashion icons. 😈🤣 I was really surprised, because every modern-media-era First Lady gets at least magazine covers galore as a rule. Crickets with these two—except when they pulled crap like that “Don’t care” jacket.

    • sun says:

      A legendary coat and a savvy legislator. I hope she enjoys more time with her family now. She worked really hard for a long time for her country

  8. Zazzoo says:

    Truly the end of an era. I’m gonna miss her style and clever retorts. But she’s survived multiple high profile attempts on her life. Her husband was very badly injured quite recently. She has more than earned stepping back.

  9. lucy2 says:

    This is no surprise, but it’s still a little sad to see. She has been so effective in her leadership, and really stood up to some disgusting bullies and tyrants over the years, and it’s been inspiring to see a woman in that position. I hope this gives her a little more time for herself and her family, even though she’s still in Congress and guiding the next generation.

  10. AnneL says:

    I love Nancy and have mad respect for her. She was a fantastic Speaker. That said, it is time for new leadership. She deserves a break. She’s prepared her successor. I’m sure he’ll be great, too, but those are some huge shoes to fill. There will be a learning curve.

  11. MsIam says:

    Nancy is a badass. I’m not a big memoir reader but definitely will be buying hers.

  12. bus says:

    I watched that video of Pelosi during the 6th. I never paid much attention to her before because she was a politician doing things politicians do. I ended up having a lot of respect for her and a lot of fear for the Democratic Party. Listening to her conversations with other people, it was clear just how little depth democratic leadership has. Schumer in particular came off as a complete moron.

    It does make me wonder if perhaps AOC? was on to something when she said that leadership had not been preparing the next generation.

    • Dara says:

      I am a huge fan of AOC, and I think (hope) she will do great things, but I really wish she would stop badmouthing her own leadership. She is a second term member of congress, she is years and years away from being considered a leader in congress. Does she have a long track record of sponsoring successful legislation? How many votes can she whip besides her own? How much fundraising and campaigning has she done for fellow democrats? All of that means more to party leadership than how many followers she has on Twitter.

      ETA, but yeah, Schumer looked like a posturing blowhard in the 1/6 video.

      • Kitten says:

        I will never understand the criticism that members of the Dem party should never criticize Dem leadership. AOC is beholden to her constituency–the people who put her in that office–not to Nancy freaking Pelosi. And all the people that put her in that seat voted for her PRECISELY because she’s not afraid to speak truth to power. Personally, I’m grateful to AOC for taking on that challenge. I mean, imagine if Republicans had the balls to criticize THEIR leadership when they fall short–we’d be in a completely different place. What AOC shows is love of country, not love of party and that’s true patriotism right there.

      • Dara says:

        @Kitten, I take your point and even agree. But like it or not, politics is a team sport. You have to play well with others to actually get things done. There is absolutely a place for a rabble rousing outsider pushing for the machine to change, but that person will never be in leadership.

      • C says:

        AOC is an excellent politician whose Instagram at least is always extremely informative and updating when the sh*t hits the fan (when Roe fell, she did a bunch of incredible Q and A’s that clarified the situation and pointed to resources).
        I worked in Democratic politics and I agree with Kitten. It would be one thing if we knew we needed to be practical and we were winning races that way, but we aren’t. I do admire Nancy, but there was no reason for her to be banging the drum for anti-choicers like Henry Cuellar right when Roe was overturned. I am often told we can’t have purity in the party if we want success, but it’s not purity to ask that the people who set the line focus on toeing it.

  13. Gabby says:

    Thank you Nancy for all you have done.

  14. jferber says:

    I love Nancy and got so angry that Trump just recently called her an “animal” because she had him impeached twice. Change that to Hero of Democracy. He also said her husband’s attacker was trying to break OUT of the house, not IN, implying that he was being held prisoner or that he was somehow the victim of Mr. Pelosi? I’m so glad she did her duty and is exiting to live her best life. I hope she AND her husband have government security for the rest of their lives. That pig Trump had gov. security for ALL his relatives AFTER his presidency and charged the gov. BIG MONEY to house them in his properties. My head will explode over this. That Nazi monster is not welcome in this country anymore.

  15. Chantal says:

    It’s truly past time but her continued and remarkable leadership was crucial, esp during the 45 era and subsequent transition. The Dem party needs energizing and unfortunately, imo, with their vice like grips, the elder heads of various leadership positions within the party did more harm than good recently.
    Slowness, unwillingness and/or inability to adapt is the major reason many institutions fail. The Dem leaderships’ refusal to accept that the Repubs had changed the rules of the game and adapt accordingly, and inability to successfully market the party platform and hype their accomplishments resulted in the losses previously suffered. I think the future of the party is in good hands as long as party unity becomes the top priority to enacting legislative goals and policies. The Repubs understand this and its why they’ve been so successful at impeding progress and setting their regressive agenda. They were united in stacking the federal courts with extremely conservative Repub judges, recommended by organizations like the Heritage Foundation and other Councils. It was a brilliant move, with immediate and long term consequences (since these are appointments for life). I’m optimistic and impressed with the newer leaders that have emerged.

  16. Nadine says:

    That picture of her standing up to trump while all the others were chicken poops is amazing! Always inspiring!