Nancy Pelosi to step down as House Speaker
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the first woman to hold that influential post, said on Thursday she will step down as the Democratic leader in the chamber a day after Republicans secured a narrow majority following the midterm elections.
Pelosi, an 82-year-old liberal from California who has served two stints as a speaker, said she will remain in Congress, representing San Francisco in the House as she has done for 35 years. Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York may seek to take her place as the top Democrat in the House. Jeffries would be the first black lawmaker to lead one of the major parties’ caucuses in Congress.
Pelosi received cheers from her fellow Democrats as she took her place in the House chamber to make the announcement and throughout her remarks. She called the House chamber “sacred ground” and the “heart of American democracy”.
She recalled visiting the Capitol for the first time as a child when her father was sworn in as a House member. “American democracy is majestic but it is fragile. Many of us here have witnessed our fragility firsthand, tragically in this chamber. And so democracy must be forever defended from forces that wish it harm,” Pelosi said.