House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “probably the most effective political leader that I’ve worked with” as the two longtime lawmakers prepare to step away from their respective leadership roles this week.
Hoyer said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Pelosi is “an extraordinary human being” and has “extraordinary energy.”
“She has an extraordinary memory for what we have done and a vision of what we ought to do, and I think she’s probably the most effective political leader that I’ve worked with over the years,” he said.
Pelosi and Hoyer both announced in November that they would step down from their leadership roles after leading the House Democratic Caucus for 20 years but remain representing their House districts.
Hoyer and Pelosi are also known to have had a longtime feud behind the scenes, culminating in their running against each other for the position of minority whip in 2001. Pelosi endorsed an opponent to Hoyer when he ran for majority leader in 2006, which he called a “disappointment” but Hoyer said they have a “very respectful” relationship.
“I was obviously disappointed when she — when I was running for Majority Leader and she supported my opponent and pretty strongly so, as you recall,” he said.
Hoyer, who has long served as the No. 2 Democrat in the House, acknowledged that he would have liked to be Speaker – “Who wouldn’t?” he said – but that Pelosi might have been a better choice.
“Of course, I would. But very frankly, as I remarked to one reporter, I said I — I’m not sure I could have done a better job than Nancy and maybe not as good a job as Nancy,” he said.