Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi

No other woman in American politics has made it as far as Nancy Pelosi.

The first — and so far only — woman to serve as Speaker of the House, Pelosi has ushered major legislation like the 2010 Affordable Care Act through Congress, led Democrats back to the majority, and gone toe-to-toe with President Trump in a way few of his opponents ever have.

In a society that has traditionally stressed female modesty, Pelosi pointedly isn’t shy about reveling in political combat or touting herself as a “master legislator."

Pelosi has led House Democrats since 2003 and is one of just seven Speakers to regain the gavel after serving in the minority. She also holds the record for the longest House floor speech: In 2018, she spoke for more than eight consecutive hours calling on Republicans to commit to a vote on immigration reform legislation. And she held the floor while standing in four-inch stilettos.

Pelosi frequently recalls the first time she participated in a meeting at the White House after becoming Speaker in 2007. For a moment, she felt as if the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement were in the room with her taking in the significance.

That first meeting with then-President George W. Bush was more cordial than just about any face-to-face conversation Pelosi has had with President Trump.

A now-infamous photo went viral last year of Pelosi standing up to Trump — literally — during a meeting at the White House, with Trump looking at her in disbelief while most Republicans and administration officials averted their eyes.

— Cristina Marcos

photo: Bonnie Cash