House Democrat: Party heading into 2018 with 'damaged' leader Pelosi

House Democrat: Party heading into 2018 with 'damaged' leader Pelosi
© Greg Nash

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said the Democratic Party is going to be heading into 2018 with a "damaged" leader in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

"We have to go into 2018 with a leader who has been damaged, and the caucus at the end of the day has to make this decision," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Some House Democrats have expressed frustration with Pelosi's leadership after several Democrat losses in special elections, with a few even raising the possibility of Pelosi's ouster as leader. Republicans plan to use Pelosi against Democrat House candidates across the country in 2018 midterms.

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Ryan, who challenged Pelosi for House minority leader, was asked whether some of the criticism of Pelosi has been too harsh and unfair.

"What's been unfair is that it's not necessarily her fault," he said. "They've spent, I would say, hundreds of millions of dollars against her."

Ryan said he has "enormous respect" for Pelosi, adding that she has helped him throughout his career.

"We're talking about healthcare for everybody today because of the work that she has done," he said.

"So this is completely unfair. But the reality is the reality," he added.

Ryan said if the Democrats aren't in power, they can't help anybody. 

"This is not just a fight that we just want to have," he said. "We've got to have these discussions because we owe it to our constituents. We owe it to the American people to put us in a position to be able to fight for them."

Last week, Ryan said Pelosi is more toxic in "some areas of the country" than President Trump.