Dem Senator: Nancy Pelosi ‘Strong Leader,’ Candidates ‘Free’ to Disown Her

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 17: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a news conference with Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee about the Trump-Putin Helsinki summit in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center July 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. Past and present members of the committee were very …
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Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) encourages internal dissent among Democrats in a Friday C-SPAN interview.

Speaking with The Hill’s Alex Bolton and the New York Times‘s Nicholas Fandos Van Hollen said Pelosi promotes “freedom” to challenge her leadership of House Democrats as a “strong leader.”

Fandos invited Van Hollen to speculate on Pelosi’s political future.

Partial transcript below.

FANDOS: I going to ask [a question] that you’d probably prefer not to answer. One of the hot topics, right now, on the campaign trail in the House is Nancy Pelosi, who you worked with closely when you were in the House. You were thought of as a potential successor to her. You now have a substantial number of candidates, maybe enough if Democrats were to win the majority, saying that they won’t vote for [Nancy Pelosi] for leader. It has broken open a discussion about who will succeed her. Are there other lawmakers in the House that you think have what it takes to lead the Democratic Caucus, and, will you make a prediction, do you think Nancy Pelosi will be leading the party this time next year?

VAN HOLLEN: So, I’m a Nancy Pelosi fan. I think she was an incredibly effective speaker. You compare her record as speaker to any of the Republican speakers who came after her, and it’s one of accomplishment. She’s been a very effective leader in the minority; taking advantage wherever possible to the fact that either Speaker Ryan or Speaker Boehner couldn’t muster the votes of their caucus because of the Tea Party. She has been very clear that she’s focused on the elections in 2018, as all of us are, as the country should be, and then the Democratic Caucus in the House will decide who the next leader is, but the key is to have a majority in the House of Representatives. Candidates on the campaign trail; they are free and should be to state their positions, not just on issues but on leadership questions, and I think that sort of freedom is encouraged by strong leaders like Nancy Pelosi.

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is planning a challenge to Pelosi’s House Democrat leadership in the event of Democrats securing a House majority following November’s forthcoming elections, according to Politico report. Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), a member of the CBC, plans to challenge Pelosi’s leadership should Democrats secure a House majority.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly called on Democrats to support Pelosi’s leadership, framing the 78-year-old former speaker as a political liability.

A recent poll had Pelosi yielding 51% support among Democrats.

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