Jim Clyburn Floats Replacing Nancy Pelosi as Speaker

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 08: U.S. House Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (R) speaks as House Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-SC) (L) listens during a news conference July 8, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. House Democrats were joined by community leaders and families from Charleston, South …
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Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, says he is ready to succeed House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as Speaker of the House if their party wins a House majority in November.

Appearing before the Congressional Black Caucus Institute’s policy conference in Tunica, Mississippi, on August 10, Clyburn, 78, spoke of a possible bid to replace Pelosi, 78, who occupies the Democrat Party’s top spot in the House. “I’m very much up for it,” Clyburn, who would become the first African-American Speaker in American history if successful, told McClatchy DC on the sidelines of the annual forum. “Trump asked the question about himself, ‘What do I have to lose?’” the lawmaker asked.

Clyburn claims he will not challenge Pelosi for the leadership post and would only assume the role if the embattled California lawmaker failed to secure the support needed to regain the gavel. However, if the Republicans hold on to their majority, “all of us have got to go,” Clyburn said of Democrats in an interview with Politico following his annual “Jim Clyburn’s World Famous Fish Fry” in Columbia.

The longtime lawmaker wants to revamp the Democrat Party, an aspiration that suggests he believes Pelosi has fallen short of her leadership duties in maintaining the status quo. “I think our party needs to be transformed and that’s what I’m talking about,” said Clyburn.

Becoming Speaker would be a tall task for Clyburn, setting the stage for a bruising political battle against House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD). “Clyburn also would have to survive a contest against Hoyer, who has been laying the groundwork to be speaker for years — though his spokeswoman, Katie Grant, would say only that Hoyer currently is “focused on taking back the House and ensuring we have a Democratic majority in 2019,” notes McClatchy DC.

In May, Pelosi announced she intends to be Speaker once more, assuming Democrats clinch enough seats in the upcoming midterm elections. However, recent polling shows Democrats are ready for a change at the very top, with 73% of registered voters and 49% of Democrats wanting Pelosi to step aside. NBC News reports 51 Democrat congressional candidates are vowing to withhold support for Pelosi to return as Speaker.

President Donald Trump on Friday evening mocked Pelosi, calling on Democrats to rally around their caucus leader and joked that she “should definitely be given a 4th chance.”

“Democrats, please do not distance yourselves from Nancy Pelosi. She is a wonderful person whose ideas & policies may be bad, but who should definitely be given a 4th chance,” the president tweeted. “She is trying very hard & has every right to take down the Democrat Party if she has veered too far left!”

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