As more Democratic candidates say they will not support keeping Nancy Pelosi as Democratic leader next year, President Donald Trump is urging them to reconsider.
“Democrats, please do not distance yourselves from Nancy Pelosi,” Trump tweeted Friday evening. “She is a wonderful person whose ideas & policies may be bad, but who should definitely be given a 4th chance. She is trying very hard & has every right to take down the Democrat Party if she has veered too far left!”
The sarcasm-dripping tweet aside, Trump’s interest in Democrats backing the House minority leader is likely genuine. One of House Republicans’ primary campaign tactics has been to use Pelosi as a boogeywoman of sorts, trying to tie Democratic hopefuls to her. The California Democrat, like most congressional leaders, has low national approval ratings.
Many Democratic candidates have refused to back Pelosi for speaker if their party takes control of the House in November. NBC News on Friday released a list of 51 such candidates and incumbents who have said they will not support Pelosi.
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Trump’s reference to a fourth chance is about Democrats trying to take back the House. Since losing their majority to the GOP in 2010, Democrats have failed to regain control for three straight election cycles — 2012, 2014 and 2016.
The 2016 loss was particularly troubling for House Democrats, and anti-Pelosi fervor within the party grew. But she still won her race for minority leader that November against Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan by a roughly 2-to-1 margin.
A speaker’s race would be a different animal, however, because not only would Pelosi need majority support from the House Democratic Caucus, she would need a majority of the House to vote to elect her speaker on the floor.
With her unlikely to get any Republican votes, Pelosi would need to hope that some of the Democrats who have said they won’t support her could be convinced to back her in a floor vote.