Nancy Pelosi, the senior Democrat leader in the House, may have retired from Congress if Hillary Clinton had been elected president. She said that she could have been content leaving the government in capable female hands.
“One of the reasons I stayed here is because I thought Hillary Clinton would win, we’d have a woman president, and so there would be a woman not at a seat at the table, but at the head of the table for the world,” said Ms. Pelosi.
“We wanted to have a woman president,” she said in an interview for the New York Times podcast “The New Washington.” “But when we didn’t, then I couldn’t walk away and say, O.K., just let all the men have the seats at the table that are making decisions for our country.”
Pelosi feels that she is taking good advantage of her place at the table with the recent Republican loss in their push to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a law she was instrumental in writing as speaker of the House. She said that Democrats have been able to shape spending bills to their liking and keep Republicans at bay due to Democratic unity and Republican disunity.
“We didn’t win the elections, but we’ve won every fight,” she said about the legislative agenda. “We’ve won every fight on the omnibus spending bill — you know the appropriations bills and the rest. You look at everything; they have no victories!”
Pelosi has been able to use leverage in her conversations with the president. Her efforts with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York has branded them Washington’s hottest new power couple. Trump just refers to them as “Chuck and Nancy.” Pelosi said she doesn’t mind that Chuck came first in the president’s reference.
“I don’t care what order it is; I just care that we can get something done for the American people,” she said. “I love working with Chuck. You know we’ve served together for a long time in the House. He’s been in Congress longer than I have, believe it or not.”
To great Republican surprise, “Chuck and Nancy” were able to convince Trump to accept a three-month extension of federal spending and a temporary increase in the debt limit. Democratic leaders believe that this will give them a significant voice in a spending plan for 2018 which is due in December.
They followed up this negotiation with an agreement with Trump to explore ways to allow “Dreamers” to remain in America after the president rescinded the Obama-era DACA program. Pelosi even was able to convince Trump to tweet out assurance to young participants in the program saying they would not be deported in the six-month delay period.
Nancy Pelosi has faced some backlash from fellow Democrats for cozying up to Trump in negotiations. “The president wants to work together,” she said. “We have a responsibility to find common ground. That’s my view.” She then reminded her colleagues that during her tenure, Democrats “worked with President Bush, even though he took us into the war in Iraq on the basis of a falsehood.”
“What could be worse than that?” she added.
Pelosi believes that Democrats have a “very excellent” chance of recapturing the House majority in 2018. This would shift the political climate in D.C. and give the House an aggressive oversight of the Trump administration.
“I would not have said it like six months ago because six months ago we would not have known what the president’s number would be in October,” she said. “He is self-immolating.”
Pelosi warned that a Democratic victory would not be “easy or a foregone conclusion,” but that “it’s a door that is very wide open for us to recruit and raise the resources and raise the issues to win.”
If this happens, the woman at the table would regain her speakership and be that much closer to the head of the table.
What do you think of Pelosi saying she might have retired if Hillary had won?
Credit: New York Times