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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said during a new interview that aired this week that the recent attack on her husband, Paul Pelosi, would impact her decision about whether she will retire from Congress if Democrats lose control of the House of Representatives after Tuesday’s midterm elections.
Pelosi made the remarks during a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper on Monday when she was asked if she would retire if Democrats lose control of the House.
“Well, I have to say my decision will be affected about what happened the last week or two,” Pelosi said. “And it will impacted by – well, I – let me just say this: I have been blessed by my colleagues. As Whip first, then Leader, and then Speaker of the House for four terms. That’s a great honor. Greatest honor I have, though, is to represent the people of San Francisco. To walk on the Floor of the House – every time I walk on, I think, ‘They chose me to be the one to speak for them.’”
“Imagine, I only thought I was coming for ten years at the most,” she said. “If that. And here I am. I never expected to run. I never expected to run for leadership. But people encouraged me to run, and then people go to run for leadership. And here I am.”
“But this institution is a great institution. My father served here, and I had great reverence for it. I was taught that as a little girl,” Pelosi continued. “And then when he was Mayor, of course, he always referenced his service in Congress. It’s a place where great things have happened for our country. To see the assault on January 6th on this Capitol was something that was so devastating and traumatic for many of us. Some of my Members who are calling me about their races now, and understanding the trauma we’re experiencing again with Paul – we’re revisiting the trauma they felt that day on January 6th, having the same root, disinformation and the rest.”
ANDERSON COOPER: The assailant has told the police, it’s in a sworn affidavit that he wanted to take you hostage, interrogate you, break your kneecaps with a hammer if you didn’t give him the answers that he wanted.
NANCY PELOSI: For me, this is really the hard part because Paul was not the target. And he’s the one who’s paying the price, I mean we all are, but he’s the one who’s really paying the price. But it really – it’s really sad, because it is a flame that was fueled by misinformation and all the rest of that, which is most unfortunate. It shouldn’t – it has no place in our democracy.
COOPER: President Biden drew a line between what happened January 6th and the attack on your husband. The President said, and I quote, ‘The assailant entered the home asking, ‘Where’s Nancy, where’s Nancy?’ – those were the very same words used by the mob when they stormed the United States Capitol on January 6th.’
PELOSI: That’s right. That’s right.
COOPER: Do you draw that same line?
PELOSI: Absolutely. There’s no question. It’s the same. The same thing. A copycat or whatever it happens to be inflamed by the same misrepresentation.
But the fact is, right now, it’s time for healing. We want the country to heal. This is not a path that we can continue on. And we want people to run for office, local, in every way. And you can’t say to them you’re risking the safety of your families by going forward. There are no guarantees of safety.
I’m very pleased that in August we were able to reach a place where the Sergeant-at-Arms informed the Members of the House of an amount of money that they would have – $10,000 to – and have the Capitol Police come and evaluate what their needs were to make their homes safer, because there was a recognition when we’re gone, our families are home and, you know, that’s scary or even if we are home, but so we recognize that. It was figured that that amount of money could do what it needed to do in homes.
COOPER: But I mean, you have a large security detail, you have great protection around you.
COOPER: If this can happen to someone in your family, it can happen to any Member of Congress’s family.
PELOSI: That’s right.
COOPER: How does – no amount of security is going to stop that. How does this stop? How does this not happen again?
PELOSI: Well you would think that there would be some level of responsibility. But what – you see what the reaction is on the other side to this, to make a joke of it. And really, that is traumatizing too, but nonetheless, forgetting them. There has to be some healing process. And Democrats and Republicans, you know, Member of Congress, anybody could be a target. And we can’t – there’s no guarantee. But we can – in our democracy, there is one party that is doubting the outcome of the election, feeding that flame and mocking in the violence that happens. That has to stop.
COOPER: The former President of the United States Donald Trump, Elon Musk, others have spread stories casting doubt on what happened, fomenting conspiracy theories. What do you have to say to them?
PELOSI: It’s really sad for the country. It’s really sad for the country that people of that high visibility would separate themselves from the facts and the truth in such a blatant way. It’s really sad, and it is traumatizing to those affected by it. They don’t care about that, obviously, but it’s destructive to the unity that we want to have in our country. But I don’t have anything to say to them. I mean, we have nothing, there would be no common ground to have any conversation with them.
COOPER: Is there enough common ground as Americans to try to bridge this divide and lower the temperature?
COOPER: Because, I mean, I think people on all sides would agree that it does not seem sustainable.
PELOSI: No, I completely agree with you. But I wouldn’t say on all sides. Because the fact is, this is a one-sided assault on our democracy, an assault on the credibility and integrity of our elections and the rest. There has to be some adult supervision on the Republican side, in order to say enough. Enough. But why not? We need a strong Republican Party in our country. I’ve said that over and over again.
COOPER: You want a strong Republican Party?
PELOSI: Absolutely. GOP – a strong Republican Party has done great things for our country. And they should take pride in that instead of yielding to a cult – to a thug, actually, the way I see it, but nonetheless, really to stay with the healing part of it. I think that prayers, I mean, we have been receiving so many prayers, thousands of well wishers with prayers for Paul’s healing. And I think prayers are a unifying force. I also think that there are enough people who, while they may not legitimately be Republicans and I respect that are not a party to feeding flame of violence and disunity in our country.
Let me just say that it’s about time, you know, it’s a time for healing, as Ecclesiastes says. It’s – Ecclesiastes says it’s time – there’s a time for everything. And this is a time long overdue for healing, to do so in a prayerful and respectful way, to do so open to hearing each other, about the future of our country. I do believe that our democracy is in danger because of what the others are saying about undermining elections even now as we go forward. I think that if enough people in our country are aware of what that challenge is, it might change behavior on the other side. But I do think that a good deal of healing has to come within the Republican Party itself. And it’s not up to me to tell them how to shape themselves. But, again, it is – to have them take pride in what they have been and what they have done for our country.
COOPER: If the former president, Donald Trump, runs again, do you think that healing is possible?
PELOSI: I’m really – I’m just not in a place where I’m ready to talk about what comes next. And tomorrow is a very big day for our country. Our democracy is on the ballot, our planet is on the ballot, our values are on the ballot.
COOPER: How concerned are you about tomorrow?
PELOSI: As I said, I have heard from at least 50 of our candidates in races that are, shall we say, in some view, too close to call, in our view, ours. And I feel optimistic, just depends on turnout. And I’m a former party chair. And I’m always about owning the ground and getting out the vote. And I feel confident that we’re in that position. Their races are close. Some of them could go one way or another. We could split it. We’ll see. But it’s up to the people, And whatever happens, we will respect the results of the election.
COOPER: I know – there’s obviously been a lot of discussion about whether you’d retire if Democrats lose the House. I know you’re not going to answer that question. So I’m not going to even ask that question.
PELOSI: Oh good, I’m glad.
COOPER: But I will ask, can you confirm that you’ve made a decision about what you would do?
PELOSI: That’s like asking the question, isn’t it?
COOPER: No, I’m not asking what the decision is. I’m just asking, have you looked ahead? And have you made the decision in your mind, whatever that decision might be?
PELOSI: Well, I have to say my decision will be affected about what happened the last week or two.
COOPER: Will it be – will your decision be impacted by the attack in any way?
COOPER: It will?
PELOSI: Yes. And it will impacted by – well, I – let me just say this: I have been blessed by my colleagues. As Whip first, then Leader, and then Speaker of the House for four terms. That’s a great honor. Greatest honor I have, though, is to represent the people of San Francisco. To walk on the Floor of the House – every time I walk on, I think, ‘They chose me to be the one to speak for them.’
COOPER: They’ve chosen you for a long time.
PELOSI: They have, 35 years. Imagine, I only thought I was coming for ten years at the most. If that. And here I am. I never expected to run. I never expected to run for leadership. But people encouraged me to run, and then people go to run for leadership. And here I am.
But this institution is a great institution. My father served here, and I had great reverence for it. I was taught that as a little girl. And then when he was Mayor, of course, he always referenced his service in Congress. It’s a place where great things have happened for our country. To see the assault on January 6th on this Capitol was something that was so devastating and traumatic for many of us. Some of my Members who are calling me about their races now, and understanding the trauma we’re experiencing again with Paul – we’re revisiting the trauma they felt that day on January 6th, having the same root, disinformation and the rest.
So I think it’s really important for us to find a way to restore unity in the Congress of the United States. And to do so by showing who’s meeting the needs of the American people and, hopefully, pulling some folks to that point of view.