House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said she would not bow to pressure to step aside as some Democrats have argued that Pelosi’s image may be hurting Democratic candidates.
In a press conference, Pelosi said she felt “very confident” in her support in the Democratic caucus, despite some assessments that Democrats have lost a number of special elections in red districts this year because of Republicans’ successful ability to demonize Pelosi and link Democratic congressional hopefuls to the minority leader.
“I think I’m worth the trouble, quite frankly,” Pelosi said. I love the fray, I’m not disrespectful of people’s views.”
“My decision about how long I stay is not up to them,” Pelosi said earlier in the conference.
She criticized reporters for focusing on criticism of her rather than the rollout of the Senate healthcare bill on Thursday. She slammed Republicans for secretively crafting the bill’ which would slash tax credits for low and middle-income Americans who purchase their own healthcare.
She also highlighted her track record for legislative victories and ability to hold her caucus together on tough votes, and adding that younger members had opportunities for climbing House leadership.
“They’ve spent over $100 million dollars demonizing me,” Pelosi said.
“I believe one of the reasons they did it is I’m an effective leader. We passed the Affordable Care Act, we passed Dodd-Frank,” she added.
Following Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff’s loss in Georgia on Tuesday, several House Democrats expressed concern that Pelosi may continue to be a drag on the ticket, noting that Republicans – fairly or not – branded her as out-of-touch with the many American voters.
Rep. Tim Ryan, who unsuccessfully challenged Pelosi for minority leader last year, told Business Insider he did not know how Democrats could take the House in 2018 if the GOP was successfully able to convince independents and Republicans that a vote for a Democratic candidate is essentially a vote for Pelosi’s leadership.
“I don’t know if there is a solution in the short term,” Ryan said. “It’s clear that tactic still works, still packs a punch, and it’s part of a broader toxicity of being part of the Democratic brand regardless of where you are.”
As they have in the past, Republicans have mocked Pelosi’s leadership.
In a tweet on Thursday, President Donald Trump taunted Pelosi.
I certainly hope the Democrats do not force Nancy P out. That would be very bad for the Republican Party – and please let Cryin' Chuck stay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2017
Asked specifically about the tweet at Thursday’s press conference, Pelosi laughed and alluded to Democrats’ popular vote advantage in the 2016 elections.
“He didn’t write that,” Pelosi said.
“Because it’s a classic Republican line. The fact is that when we need to redistrict our country so when we get the majority of the votes in the country, it is reflected as the majority of the votes in the congress.”