Pelosi will leave the Democratic leadership in Congress effective January 2:21
(WABNEWS) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will leave the Democratic leadership after Republicans win a majority. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer remains at the helm of the chamber that Democrats still control. Both said President Joe Biden should run for a second term in 2024, after what they described as a “great” first two years in office.
The comments from the Democratic congressional leaders came in their first joint interview with WABNEWS’s Jamie Gangel over lunch at Hunan Dynasty, a Chinese restaurant on Capitol Hill in Washington where the two have shared meals for years.RELATED
Pelosi said Biden, who at 80 is already the nation’s oldest president, has “done an excellent job” in the White House.
“I hope that he does seek re-election. She is a person with a great vision for our country. He has been involved for a long time, so he has a great understanding of the issues and the challenges we face,” he said.
Pelosi also indicated that Biden is “the most empathetic president. He connects with people.”
“The vision, the knowledge, the strategic thinking, you have it all here,” he said, pointing to his head. “Empathy is from the heart. And I think he’s a great president.”
Asked if Biden should run again, Schumer said: “Yes. She has done an excellent, excellent job. And if she shows up, I’m going to support him until the end ”.
The interview took place less than three weeks before Pelosi is set to resign as House speaker after Republicans won a slim majority in the November midterm elections. The California Democrat plans to remain in the House, representing her San Francisco district, but she will leave her caucus leadership.
Schumer and Pelosi recalled past battles against Donald Trump in the interview, with both predicting that the former president will lose his third run for the White House.
“The American people have grown wise to him. He took a little bit of time, but they did it,” Schumer said.
The New York Democrat said Americans watched as pro-Trump rioters attacked the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, saying voters’ understanding of the “danger to democracy” is in part of the cause of the good results of the Democrats in the midterm elections this year.
“I don’t think we should talk about him while we eat,” Pelosi said of Trump.
The Democratic duo’s comments come amid the possibility of a Biden-Trump rematch in 2024. Trump has already announced his 2024 candidacy, though he is likely to face a competitive Republican primary. Biden, meanwhile, has not made a formal announcement, but has long maintained that he will seek re-election and said he will officially decide early next year.
A new WABNEWS poll by SSRS found little appetite for a rematch among the 2020 rivals. About six in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they want their party to nominate someone other than Trump in 2024 (62% ), while a similar 59% among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say they would like to see someone other than Biden at the top of their ticket in the next presidential election.
In the interview, Pelosi and Schumer detailed their actions on January 6, 2021, when pro-Trump insurgents attacked the Capitol.
Schumer said he asked acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen to put him on the phone with Trump, but Rosen did not.
“He wasn’t going to do it,” Schumer said.
Asked if he thought Trump would not take his call, Schumer replied: “Correct. Correct.”
Those calls came three days after a high-level meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump considered replacing acting Attorney General Rosen with loyalist Jeffrey Clark, with the goal of Clark using his powers to try to overturn the 2020 election. In that meeting, Trump was told that if he went ahead with that plan, top Justice Department officials, including Rosen, would resign.
Pelosi compared Trump to Republicans she had worked with as House Democratic leader, including former Speaker John Boehner. But he said that Trump was foolish.
“I think it takes an intervention from his family or something. I don’t think I’m at the level right now,” Pelosi said.
In the interview, the two described a close relationship of more than three decades, “almost like brother and sister,” Schumer said.
That relationship means regular dinners and talking on the phone four times a day — too many calls, Pelosi joked — all because Schumer has an old flip phone.
“If I had a normal smart phone, we could reduce the number of conversations because I could send you a text,” Pelosi said.
The two sparred over a heated Oval Office meeting with Trump in December 2018, during which the then-president told news cameras that he would shut down the government over lawmakers’ refusal to fund his US-U.S. border wall. and Mexico.
“Chuck was masterful,” Pelosi said of the meeting, in which Schumer goaded Trump into making the declaration that he would shut down the government.
“She set him up so I could go in for the kill,” Schumer said.
Schumer said Pelosi was able to successfully navigate the Trump presidency because she treated the Republican like a child.
“I tell people that Nancy instinctively knew how to handle Trump because in the first 35-40 years of her life she raised five children,” she said.
Schumer said that despite Pelosi’s departure from the House Democratic leadership, the two will continue to speak regularly.
“I will certainly call her,” he said, “and seek her advice and an idea of what is going on in the House and what we can do.”