Nancy Pelosi Announces She Will Not Seek Reelection to Democratic Leadership

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced she intended to remain in the House of Representatives but would not seek reelection as leader of House Democrats.

Pelosi, the only female Speaker in US history, received several rounds of applause during the speech she made to fellow lawmakers on the House floor Thursday afternoon.

Pelosi recalled first seeing the Capitol building on a trip to Washington with her father when she was six years old.

“Indeed, American democracy is majestic, but it is fragile […] Democracy must be forever defended from forces that wish it harm […] Last week the American people spoke […] and gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,” she said.

Republicans gained the House majority after the midterm elections, while Democrats held control of the Senate.

In her remarks on Thursday, Pelosi told fellow lawmakers, “I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress. For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect.”

The Speaker thanked her husband, Paul, who is still recovering from a hammer attack by an armed intruder at the Pelosi family’s California home.

“For my dear husband, Paul, who has been my beloved partner in life and my pillar of support, thank you. We’re all grateful for all the prayers and well wishes as he continues his recovery. Thank you so much,” she said. Credit: CSPAN via Storyful

Video Transcript

NANCY PELOSI: My colleagues, I stand before you as Speaker of the House, as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a devout Catholic, a proud Democrat, and a patriotic American, a citizen of the greatest republic in the history of the world.

[APPLAUSE]

Which President Lincoln called the last best hope on Earth. Indeed, in the words attributed to another of our colleagues, the legendary Daniel Webster, he said, hold on, my friends, to the Constitution of your country and the government established under it. Miracles do not cluster. That which has happened but once in 6,000 years cannot be expected to happen often.

Indeed, American democracy is majestic. But it is fragile. Many of us here have witnessed its fragility firsthand, tragically, in this chamber. And so democracy must be forever defended from forces that wish it harm.

Last week, the American people spoke, and their voices were raised in defense of liberty, of the rule of law, and of democracy itself.

[APPLAUSE]

With these elections, the people stood in the breach and repelled the assault on democracy. They resoundingly rejected violence and insurrection, and in doing so gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

[APPLAUSE]

Now we must move boldly into the future, grounded by the principles that have propelled us this far, and open to fresh possibilities for the future.

Scripture teaches us that for everything, there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. My friends, no matter what title you all, my colleagues, have bestowed upon me-- Speaker, Leader, Whip-- there is no greater official honor for me than to stand on this floor and to speak for the people of San Francisco.

This I will continue to do as a member of the House, speaking for the people of San Francisco, serving the great state of California, and defending our Constitution. And with great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress.

For me, the hour's come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect. And I'm grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.

Madam Speaker, for my dear husband Paul, who has been my beloved partner in life and my pillar of support, thank you. We're all grateful for all the prayers and well-wishes, as he continues his recovery. Thank you so much.

[APPLAUSE]