Pelosi said she does not plan on stepping aside anytime soon, despite efforts by Republicans to tie Democratic candidates to her — and members of her own party who want her to step aside.
“I can take the heat, and that’s why I stay in the kitchen,” she said.
Pelosi told the AP she is the Democrat best suited to deal with President Donald Trump.
“I have a following in the country that’s unsurpassed by anybody, unless they’re running for president,” she said.
She criticized Republicans for trying to force her out. “And I’m just not going to let them do that,” she said.
The Democratic leader also said if Democrats take back the majority, they would focus on giving legal status to undocumented immigrants who arrived in their youth and passing background checks on guns.
Pelosi said she tells women to follow her path and prove why they are qualified.
“I want to be an example to them, just to say, ‘Don’t run away from a fight.’ If you think you’re the one that should be there, you make the fight,” she said.
But Pelosi has faced challenges to her leadership, including from Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who launched a failed bid to challenge her after Democrats lost in 2016. Some in her party are critical of how long she’s been in leadership.
Rep. Linda T. Sánchez of California, who is running for chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus, said she hopes for a peaceful transition.
“I didn’t say you grab the torch out of their hands and kick them down the stairs,” she said.
Watch: House Ratings Change in Favor of Democrats