Rep. Dan KildeeDaniel (Dan) Timothy KildeeFormer Rep. Dale Kildee dies at 92 EPA closer to unveiling plan for tackling 'forever chemicals' Sanders, Manchin, Sinema fight proxy war in the House MORE (D-Mich.) on Wednesday warned against electing congressional leaders on the basis of their nationwide popularity, as House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSunday shows preview: CDC signs off on 'mix and match' vaccine boosters Buttigieg aims to use Tucker Carlson flap to spotlight paternity leave Judge to hear Trump's case against Jan. 6 committee in November 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 TrumpGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Super PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE or [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Pelosi says GOP senators 'voted to aid and abet' voter suppression for blocking revised elections bill Manchin insists he hasn't threatened to leave Democrats 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