House Democrats came out victorious on Tuesday — winning back control of the chamber and paving the way for additional oversight of the Trump administration. It’s a moment that has Nancy Pelosi feeling a sense of urgency to once again hold the speaker’s gavel.
And she has “total” confidence that she will do so — despite many newly elected House Democrats distancing themselves from her during their campaigns.
An opponent to Pelosi’s bid has yet to officially emerge, but on Tuesday night, Rep. Tim Ryan, Democrat of Ohio, said, “a lot of people will be surprised about who is thinking about doing something.”
“There are lot of conversations happening with a lot of people from a lot of different caucuses that we have that are thinking about it,” Ryan said, adding that he had no intention of challenging Pelosi as he did in 2016.
But that intraparty opposition doesn’t appear to faze the California Democrat. In an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “Cuomo PrimeTime,” Pelosi said she sent out a letter requesting support from her colleagues on Wednesday night. She added that she has received a “tremendous” response and said she is “100%” confident she will win the speakership.
When asked if she thought she would have to deal with “unusual opposition,” Pelosi replied: “If I do, that’s politics.”
“This is not a day at the beach, this is politics,” Pelosi said.
CNN previously reported that a total of 12 incumbents who had pledged to vote against Pelosi were re-elected Tuesday, in addition to seven new candidates.
If Pelosi becomes speaker, she will replace current Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan — who did not seek re-election — and is poised to be the face of Democrats in looming legislative clashes with President Donald Trump and the GOP, including in areas like immigration and gun reform.
But Pelosi cited Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016 as part of her reason for continuing her career in politics and seeking the leadership role.
“It’s an urgency I can’t resist, if Hillary Clinton had won … our Affordable Care Act would be protected and I could go home,” Pelosi said.
“You know, no one in California ever gets Potomac fever. We all always want to go home. But that didn’t happen, sadly for our country. So, this is something that I feel all of my experience is geared to.”
Call with Trump
On Tuesday night, Trump called Pelosi to congratulate her on the Democrats winning the House majority, Pelosi’s chief of staff Drew Hammill said in a tweet earlier this week.
“President Trump called Leader Pelosi at 11:45 p.m. this evening to extend his congratulations on winning a Democratic House Majority. He acknowledged the Leader’s call for bipartisanship in her victory remarks,” Hammill’s tweet said.
Pelosi expanded on her election night call with Trump, telling Cuomo that although it was difficult to hear above all the celebration in the room, she “heard the word infrastructure.”
“That came through clearly,” she said.
Pelosi said Trump told her he figured they could come to an agreement on some things.
“And we have an obligation to try to find common ground where we can,” Pelosi added.
Sessions out as AG
Pelosi also responded to Trump’s firing of ex-Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday, calling the current moment “perilous.”
“This is a perilously constitutional moment,” Pelosi said, adding that she wouldn’t call it a constitutional crisis yet.
“Our concern is, of course, that they will interfere and say the President’s above the law,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi also pointed to the to letters sent on Wednesday by expected new chairmen of the House Judiciary, Intelligence and Oversight committees, ordering top Trump administration officials to preserve documents connected to Mueller’s investigation and the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Pelosi, who is currently hoping to win House speaker, called the move to preserve the documents involved in the Mueller investigation “essential.”