Politics & Policy

Pelosi Admits Dems Need ‘New Blood,’ but Vows to Stay through Trump Admin.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks at a press conference on Capitol Hill, January 20, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi conceded during a Friday interview with CNN that her party’s aging leadership is in need of “new blood,” but asserted that she would remain in office until the conclusion of the Trump presidency.

“I do agree that it’s time for new blood and we should move on, and if Hillary Clinton had won and the Affordable Care Act was protected — I feel very proprietary about that — I was happy to go my way,” Pelosi told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview set to air Monday night on CNN International and PBS.

The House minority leader, who’s been criticized by younger members of the caucus for her reluctance to relinquish her leadership position, emphasized the importance of maintaining a female presence at the legislative negotiating table.

“To have no woman at the table and to have the Affordable Care Act at risk, I said, ‘As long as [Trump’s] here, I’m here,’” she added. “If the election were held today, we would win overwhelmingly and women would lead the way. We have so many excellent women candidates from women across the country. Women marched and then they ran, and now they’re running and now they’re going to be members of Congress.”

Pelosi subsequently touched on another frequent criticism levied by the more aggressive members of her party: her reluctance to openly advocate Trump’s impeachment as the primary goal to be pursued should Democrats retake the House in November.

“Our priority (is) unifying. Impeachment is a very divisive approach. Elections should determine who is in office,” she said. “If the President has broken law, he’s not above the law, but that remains to be seen.”

The California lawmaker has emerged in recent months as a frequent target of Republican attack ads that seek to tie red-state Democratic candidates to her brand of progressivism. A number of young candidates, including Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, have responded by openly denouncing Pelosi and vowing to vote against her for speaker should the party win the majority in November.

Pelosi has sought to repel the attacks by emphasizing the virtue of experience in leading the caucus and frequently invoking her impressive fundraising track record. Asked about the criticisms Friday, she dismissed Republican attacks as shallow and ineffectual, adding that her resilience should serve as an example for politically ambitious women.

“I think it’s really important for women to see, because you can’t run away from a fight in the arena . . . when the Republicans have such a poverty of ideas that the only thing they can put in their ads is that I’m a San Francisco liberal who supports LGBTQ rights, I can take the heat,” she said. “I want women to know that this isn’t easy, power is never given away and it always has to be fought for.”

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