Politics

Pelosi’s message to Dems: Don’t save McCarthy’s speakership

As the House braces for a possible vote to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy, there’s been a lot of speculation about whether House Democrats would step in to help save his gavel.

Not if his predecessor Nancy Pelosi has anything to say about it.

The former speaker has warned her colleagues — including Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and some in his new leadership team — against rushing to bail out a man whom she argues can’t be trusted, according to multiple Democrats who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.

Instead, she has counseled, Democrats should let Republicans deal with the drama themselves.

Pelosi’s position will not surprise veteran Hill watchers. She’s long had a frosty relationship with McCarthy, who once joked about hitting her in the head with her own gavel.

But Democrats say the ultimate decision about whether to engage will belong to Jeffries, who has yet to weigh in on the question of what Democrats should do if a motion to remove McCarthy is called. Customarily, the minority party acts to elect one of its own as speaker. But Democrats could sit on their hands in this case and deny GOP rebels the votes they need to follow through with an ouster.

Pelosi spokesperson Aaron Bennett said the former speaker “has always said that every Member should follow the direction of our Leader, Hakeem Jeffries.”

Jeffries, who so far has dismissed questions about the situation as hypothetical, has privately told his leadership team that Democrats should stick together on the matter, whatever they decide, we’re told.

While some Democrats have explored whether there’s some agreement to be had, others told Playbook they’re with Pelosi: Jeffries shouldn’t go make any deals with a Republican who almost single-handedly helped resurrect former president Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 riot, reneged on a bipartisan spending caps deal with the White House and is now trying to impeach President Joe Biden.

“Not if he wants to be speaker,” one senior Democratic aide said.

As the House braces for a possible vote to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy, there’s been a lot of speculation about whether House Democrats would step in to help save his gavel.
Not if his predecessor Nancy Pelosi has anything to say about it.
The former speaker has warned her colleagues — including Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and some in his new leadership team — against rushing to bail out a man whom she argues can’t be trusted, according to multiple Democrats who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.
Instead, she has counseled, Democrats should let Republicans deal with the drama themselves.
Pelosi’s position will not surprise veteran Hill watchers. She’s long had a frosty relationship with McCarthy, who once joked about hitting her in the head with her own gavel.
But Democrats say the ultimate decision about whether to engage will belong to Jeffries, who has yet to weigh in on the question of what Democrats should do if a motion to remove McCarthy is called. Customarily, the minority party acts to elect one of its own as speaker. But Democrats could sit on their hands in this case and deny GOP rebels the votes they need to follow through with an ouster.
Pelosi spokesperson Aaron Bennett said the former speaker “has always said that every Member should follow the direction of our Leader, Hakeem Jeffries.”
Jeffries, who so far has dismissed questions about the situation as hypothetical, has privately told his leadership team that Democrats should stick together on the matter, whatever they decide, we’re told.
While some Democrats have explored whether there’s some agreement to be had, others told Playbook they’re with Pelosi: Jeffries shouldn’t go make any deals with a Republican who almost single-handedly helped resurrect former president Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 riot, reneged on a bipartisan spending caps deal with the White House and is now trying to impeach President Joe Biden.
“Not if he wants to be speaker,” one senior Democratic aide said.  

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