Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden pledged he would keep Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as House Speaker in a speech delivered Tuesday evening as Super Tuesday results rolled in.
“We want a nominee who will beat Donald Trump but also keep Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House,” he said.
It was a repeat of a pledge his campaign made earlier in the day in a tweet:
If you want a Democratic nominee who can:
– Beat Donald Trump
– Keep Nancy Pelosi as Speaker and hold the House
– Take the US Senate and state legislatures
Then this is your campaign.
— Joe Biden (Text Join to 30330) (@JoeBiden) March 3, 2020
The line was not received well by supporters of fellow Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who are anti-establishment Democrats.
“Is Joe Biden really gonna run behind Nancy Pelosi? One of the most disliked politicians in the entire country,” one Twitter account appearing to be in support of Sanders tweeted.
Is Joe Biden really gonna run behind Nancy Pelosi? One of the most disliked politicians in the entire country
— Sanders2020 🌹 (@BernSanders2016) March 4, 2020
Another seeming Sanders supporter tweeted: “People at this Biden event are lustily cheering for ‘Keep Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House!’ as this ghoul then pivots to talking about decency, preserving America’s soul, and healing the country. Just pathetic.”
People at this Biden event are lustily cheering for "Keep Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House!" as this ghoul then pivots to talking about decency, preserving America's soul, and healing the country. Just pathetic. https://t.co/0kg7QTBJnL
— supererogatory masochism (@PatBlanchfield) March 4, 2020
Peter Daou, a former Hillary Clinton adviser who appears to be a Sanders supporter, summed up progressive disdain for Biden and Pelosi in a tweet earlier in the day:
“KIDS WERE IN CAGES UNDER OBAMA, #BIDEN, AND PELOSI,” he tweeted. “Are you going to uphold this broken system, or do you want a progressive revolution?#SuperTuesday”:
KIDS WERE IN CAGES UNDER OBAMA, #BIDEN, AND PELOSI.
Then Trump took it ten steps further by ripping families apart for Stephen Miller's sick pleasure. And Dems keep funding #ICE.
Are you going to uphold this broken system, or do you want a progressive revolution?#SuperTuesday
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) March 3, 2020
A Congressional Quarterly reporter pointed out that keeping Pelosi as Speaker is part of Biden’s argument that if he is the nominee, voters who vote for him will vote for other Democrats down-ballot.
Biden once again makes the down-ballot argument in his #SuperTuesday speech: "We want a nominee who will beat Donald Trump but also keep Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House" and win back the Senate
— Bridget Bowman (@bridgetbhc) March 4, 2020
The Democrat Party is heavily divided between the progressive wing, who back Sanders, and the moderate camp, split between moderate candidates including Biden, Mike Bloomberg, and Elizabeth Warren, and it is far from clear whether Biden is the most popular Democrat candidate or the most viable against President Trump.
By the time of Biden’s speech, he was leading in the delegate count on Super Tuesday, but there had not yet been a winner declared for Texas or California — two states that account for about half of the delegates to be awarded.