House Speaker emerita Nancy Pelosi, who at 83 is older than President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and not much younger than Sen. Dianne Feinstein, is being cagey about whether she’ll seek yet another term in office as concerns swirl about aging lawmakers.
“I haven’t been thinking much about it — yet,” the California Republican, who won her first congressional race in San Francisco in 1987, told Politico’s Jonathan Martin for a magazine feature about her and her plans.
“But I will,” the congresswoman added. “When I need to, I will.”
Feinstein, at 90, and Pelosi have been representing San Francisco for more than three decades, but Feinstein’s pending retirement after her illness from complications of shingles is raising questions about how the city will fare if both of the senior legislators leave office at the same time.
“Let’s just go back about six years and we had Dianne, we had Barbara [Boxer], we had Jackie Speier,” said Pelosi. “Now Jackie is gone, so we’ll see.”
Boxer stepped down in 2017, and Speier left Congress at the beginning of this year.
But while questions are growing about McConnell, 81, who has frozen twice this year while speaking publicly, and Biden, 80, whose speeches are often peppered by gaffes that have raised eyebrows, Pelosi is showing no signs of slowing down, even after she gave up her leadership role in Congress after Republicans won control of the House.
She remains the most powerful elected woman in Congressional history, as well as one of the most consequential, if controversial, speakers.
“It’s really hard to leave a job you love and are great at,” said Boxer. “If I’m Nancy, it’s not easy.”
At the same time, San Francisco is facing serious issues in the wake of the COVID pandemic, and politicians are concerned about her plans causing an electoral tangle should she decide to retire.
Former Mayor Willie Brown, at 89, said he does predict Pelosi will run, but others, including Aaron Peskin, a member of the city’s Board of Supervisors, said he’s concerned about what could happen if Pelosi and Feinstein both step down.
“The day is coming when we’re going to start out with a baby congressperson and some baby senator,” Peskin said, adding he hopes they don’t both leave at the same time.
Pelosi has been busy pushing the Biden Justice Department to help her city with its fentanyl crisis, but making the decision to run is a difficult one, as one of her four daughters, Christine, is reportedly interested in claiming the seat her mother has held all these years.
Pelosi also in the past year has seen San Francisco’s issues hit home, literally, when her husband Paul was attacked in their home.
There has also been speculation that Pelosi could end up as an ambassador to Italy, a rumor her husband has rejected.
“It wouldn’t go away but she was very clear,” he said, adding that his wife has said that “‘I don’t want the job, I’m done, I’m done.'”
She also would not talk much about whether her nemesis, former President Donald Trump, will return to the White House, but she did mutter “despicable” during her interview when a push alert on her phone popped up about one of the former president’s trials.
Meanwhile, Pelosi has been arguing that Feinstein should be allowed to decide for herself about whether she wants to remain in the Senate.
“She’s doing OK, she’s doing OK,” Pelosi said. “She’ll be able to do what she needs to do to vote and serve on the Appropriations Committee.”
She slammed what she calls a sexist double standard when it comes to aging lawmakers.
“They can vote, and it’s all they need to do,” but “Then Dianne comes along and then they’re making such a fuss? Uh-uh. It’s a guy thing, but that’s the way the world is,” Pelosi said.
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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