Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will hand over the gavel in January, presumably to Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, but she’s not leaving Congress. Instead, she will help guide the new generation of leaders being elevated as she moves into an “emeritus” role.
That’s according to Puck’s Tara Palmeri, who reports that Speaker Pelosi, the “longtime Democratic leader, a fixture of the House for decades, will step back into a chairman-like role in the minority rather than retire immediately, giving her time to manage her succession and ensure the stability of her caucus through the forthcoming McCarthy era.”
Pelosi’s predecessors, like John Boehner and Paul Ryan most recently, left the House entirely when they had had enough. (Boehner resigned and left Congress in October 0f 2015, Run did not run for re-election for his House seat in 2018.) And while voters gave Republicans a slight majority, Pelosi believes she still has vital work to do for the American people and for her caucus.
In what it turns out has been a well-crafted exit, Pelosi made the decision to relinquish her Speakership this weekend, Palmeri reports, enlisting the aid of noted historian and presidential biographer John Meacham to help her craft a speech.
“Sometime around noon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will walk out onto the House floor to take her final bow after 19 years as head of the Democratic caucus with a speech about passing the torch from one generation to the next, I’m told,” Palmeri writes. “But instead of riding high into retirement, as has long been assumed, or becoming ambassador to Italy—a diplomatic posting the White House has been holding open for her—Pelosi will announce that she plans to stay in Congress as a backbencher, roaming the halls in a sort of emeritus role and helping to guide Democrats through their turn in the minority.”
But as races were called for Republicans this week, Pelosi clarified her decisions.
The “decision to stay on as a backbencher was only reached days ago. On Wednesday, the move was floated in the New York Times under the headline ‘Will Pelosi Stay or Will She Go? Perhaps a Little Bit of Both.’ By that point, I’m told, Pelosi had torn up the Meacham draft, repurposing the best pieces of it for her own handcrafted speech that threads the needle to account for her post-speakership, chairman-like role.”
Palmeri reveals what the future holds for other top Democrats as well.
“Pelosi spent the last 24 hours helping to clear the runway for Hakeem Jeffries, I’m told, while working out ways to make sure that Adam Schiff, one of her pets, is taken care of and is therefore not inclined to challenge Jeffries. Politico reported that he intends to focus on a run for Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat. An orderly succession has always been Pelosi’s goal. ‘It may seem like she’s backbench but it’s really putting the throne in a different area,’ said a Pelosi insider. ‘She’ll never get off the throne.’”
Read Palmeri’s entire piece at Puck (subscription/registration required.)