House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said in a new interview that she is best fit to be the next speaker of the House if Democrats win a majority in the 2018 midterm elections on Tuesday, suggesting that none of her Democratic colleagues should get to serve in the position while she is in Congress.
Pelosi spoke to HuffPost about her 31 years in the House and 17 years in Democratic leadership, highlighting her confidence in the Democrats regaining control of the House.
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"I know the territory," she said. "And I'm really good at what I do."
Despite Pelosi's experience, many House Democrats and Democratic congressional candidates have said that they would vote against Pelosi for speaker if their party retakes the chamber. Some have said Pelosi, 78, is too old for the position.
"It is sexist," Pelosi told HuffPost. "But if there's misogyny, there's also a big upside in women. I feel confident about women, and many men, who say ‘My daughter can now do this and that and this because of you.' I don't spend too much time thinking about it … What is important to me in all of this is that women just ignore it."
While Pelosi said she is ready to foster generational change in the House, she would not offer specifics or any names of Democrats who she sees as potential new leaders in the Democratic Party.
"I have for a long time tried to have a path for other people to take over," she said. "They have to go out there to get a following. They have to show their legislative chops. There are any number of people who could do that."
By indicating that it is time for a generational change, Pelosi effectively disqualified her top two colleagues in House Democratic leadership—Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) and Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn (S.C.), both of whom are in their late 70s—from becoming speaker.
HuffPost suggested that Pelosi let Hoyer be speaker for a week, "just to experience the glory" after being her deputy for years.
"What would be the purpose?" Pelosi responded with a confused laugh. "That can't be a serious question."
HuffPost followed up by asking whether the answer was a "no" for Hoyer.
"For anybody," Pelosi said.
In August, the editorial board of one of the largest newspapers in Pelosi's home state of California, the Sacramento Bee, called on Pelosi to "put her party and her country ahead of her personal ambition and declare that she will not seek the speakership again" after the midterm elections.
That same month, Clyburn said that he would purse the speakership if Democrats take control of the House and Pelosi cannot whip the votes needed to be elected to the position.