Nancy Pelosi Elected House Speaker For Second Time, Makes History
California Rep. Nancy Pelosi on Thursday retook her former role as Speaker of the House, as the Democratic Party officially gained control of the lower chamber of Congress.
The 78-year-old veteran Democrat had been the House Minority leader for the past eight years and previously served as House Speaker from 2007 to 2011, preceding John Boehner and working in the position under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
With the win, Pelosi has now made history as the first legislator in more than 50 years to hold the role of House Speaker twice. She is also the oldest person elected to the speakership. Her swearing-in ceremony was held on Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
Pelosi has drawn respect from many but has also faced criticism even from multiple Democrats, who believe she has not provided sufficient leadership in the party. After Democrats won the majority in the midterm elections in November 2018, several prominent Democrats began emerging as potential opponents to Pelosi for the role of House Speaker, among them Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, a former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Pelosi — who has vehemently criticized President Donald Trump, his administration and Republicans on several issues — will now face several issues as House Speaker, including drafting a plan to reopen the government. House Democrats issued a plan this week to end the shutdown by passing six bipartisan bills.
The government has been partially shutdown for 12 days, which makes it the fourth-longest one in U.S. history. This occurred after Trump refused to back down on his promise to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico in order to increase border security. Pelosi and New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer had a heated, televised argument with Trump in the Oval Office on the subject of the border wall and illegal immigration. Despite promising not to blame Democrats for the shutdown and pledging to take personal responsibility for it, Trump said the party “owns the shutdown” and said it could last significantly longer if Congressional Democrats refused to provide $5 billion in funding for the wall. Approximately 800,000 federal workers have ben left without pay due to the shutdown.
Pelosi will also deal with self-imposed four-year term limits for her role as House Speaker, and will likely face much opposition from GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on many issues.
A mother of five and grandmother of nine, Pelosi has also been and will likely continue to be a powerful figure in the #MeToo era that began in late 2017 after several famous women revealed their experiences with sexual harassment and sexual assault. Pelosi has blasted Trump several times for his disparaging remarks about and physical treatment of women.
Many lawmakers have noted Pelosi’s vast experience in politics and strong knowledge of legislation. One person who recently made a bold comment about the veteran lawmaker is her daughter, Alexandra Pelosi.
“She’ll cut your head off, and you won’t even know you’re bleeding,” Alexandra Pelosi said of her mother Wednesday in an interview on CNN.