Dem rep warns against electing congressional leaders based on national popularity

Rep. Dan KildeeDaniel (Dan) Timothy KildeeInspector general to review DOD's use of PFAS Working Families Tax Relief Act would help millions join middle class Democrats see whistleblower report as smoking gun MORE (D-Mich.) on Wednesday warned against electing congressional leaders on the basis of their nationwide popularity, as House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiLawmakers, social media users praise photo of Pelosi confronting Trump Trump turns Pelosi's 'meltdown' criticism around: 'She is a very sick person' Trump threat lacks teeth to block impeachment witnesses MORE (D-Calif.) makes a bid for Speaker. 

"I think there's a lot made about whether she's a popular figure nationwide," Kildee told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons and Buck Sexton on "Rising." "If we start electing Speakers or minority leaders or majority leaders or Senate leaders on the basis of their popularity across the country, we're going to lose."

"The very nature of that position is to do the hard things," Kildee continued. "To do the things that make you unpopular, and be popular enough to be able to continue to lead. Leadership is the act of disappointing your own supporters at a rate they can absorb. Doing the hard things is what you expect of those people."

"So I dismiss this whole notion that we have to be really concerned about the personal branding of the party. What we need to be concerned with is what we try to do, and how successful we are at doing," he said. 

House Democrats are set to hold an internal vote on Wednesday to decide on their nominee for Speaker and Pelosi is the favorite. It would be her second stint as Speaker. 

Pelosi has faced a series of obstacles in her bid, however, but some of her critics, including Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), who floated challenging Pelosi, have since walked back their criticisms and backed the longtime Democratic leader.

Kildee expressed his support for Pelosi on Wednesday. 

"I go into a fight with [President] Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP congressman slams Trump over report that U.S. bombed former anti-ISIS coalition headquarters US to restore 'targeted assistance' to Central American countries after migration deal Trump says lawmakers should censure Schiff MORE or [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPatient advocates launch drug pricing ad campaign Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs War of words at the White House MORE [(R-Ky.)], the toughest person in our caucus, the toughest and smartest person in the caucus, ought to be the one leading us. And so far, no one has stepped that exceeds her toughness or her intelligence," Kildee said. 

— Julia Manchester