Pelosi starts bid for speakership with kind words from Trump


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

Vilified by Republicans on the campaign trail, Nancy Pelosi emerged Wednesday as President Donald Trump’s preferred choice to become speaker of the House, arriving on Capitol Hill with an air of inevitability after leading her party back to the majority.

The Democratic leader is positioned to return to the speaker’s office after Democrats took back the House in Tuesday’s midterm elections. Already the only woman to have held the job, she would also become one of the few lawmakers to reclaim the gavel after losing it.

Pelosi is a “smart woman,” Trump said during a nearly 90-minute press conference at the White House, and someone with whom he hopes to engage in “beautiful bipartisanship” and deal-making. It was a role reversal from just days ago, when he warned voters of her “radical” agenda.

She “deserved” to become speaker again after winning the House, Trump said Wednesday, adding that he looked forward to doing “a tremendous amount of legislation” once power in Congress is divided between a Democratic House and Republican Senate.

At the Capitol, in the stately Rayburn Room – named after the last speaker who returned to the office – Pelosi was asked if she was confident she would become speaker when the new Congress convenes in January. She said simply: “Yes, I am.”

Yet ascent of the California Democrat is nowhere near guaranteed. Many younger House Democrats, including some of the newly elected, have pledged to vote against her.

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