At 78, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is not ready to step down from her seat in the House of Representatives, telling CNN she plans to stick around as long as President Donald Trump is in office. Those remarks come amid growing opposition to Pelosi's leadership from congressional hopefuls from her own party running in this fall's midterm elections.
"If Hillary Clinton had won and the Affordable Care Act was protected — I feel very proprietary about that — I was happy to go my way," Pelosi told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Friday. While she believes the Democratic Party is in need of "new blood" and it is ultimately "up to the caucus" to decide who will be its leader, "to have no woman at the table and to have the Affordable Care Act at risk, I said, 'As long as (Trump's) here, I'm here.'"
Despite Pelosi's apprehensions about leaving office under the Trump administration and her own polarizing reputation, she spoke confidently about the midterms in terms of taking back control of Congress, noting that "women would lead the way."
"If the election were held today, we would win overwhelmingly, and women would lead the way," she said of midterm elections. "We have so many excellent women candidates from women across the country. Women marched, and then they ran. And now they're running, and now they're going to be members of Congress."
If Democrats are successful in taking back control of the House, Pelosi could become speaker again, even though one pollster in her own party posits her as "the biggest hurdle" to midterm victories. If so, she said her legislative agenda would include lowering health care costs, increasing wages, tightening gun laws, as well as targeting corruption in Washington.
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However, that does not necessarily mean impeachment. In her interview with CNN, Pelosi cautioned against the Democratic Party focusing on a takedown of Trump. "Our priority (is) unifying. Impeachment is a very divisive approach. Elections should determine who is in office," she said. "If the president has broken law, he's not above the law. But that remains to be seen."
In general, Pelosi sees the current political climate as a "very transformative time," especially in light of all the women from diverse walks of life running for office.
"Nothing is more wholesome for America, for our system of government and politics than the increased participation of women in our leadership and their participation in our government," she told CNN. "I honestly believe if we decrease the role of money in politics and increase the level of civility in politics, we'll even have many more women who will go forward, enter the arena, win the fight (and) make a difference."
It seems, at least in the foreseeable future, Pelosi wants to continue to set an example for women politicians. "When the Republicans have such a poverty of ideas that the only thing they can put in their ads is that I'm a San Francisco liberal who supports LGBTQ rights, I can take the heat," she said. "I want women to know that this isn't easy, power is never given away and it always has to be fought for."