Pelosi on Slotkin’s call for new leadership: ‘There’s no substitute for experience’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday responded to Rep. Elissa Slotkin’s (D-Mich.) call for new leadership in the Democratic Party, noting that while there is a need for “generational change,” in some situations there is “no substitute for experience.”
“Yes, we need generational change. Of course we do. But in some cases there’s no substitute for experience,” Pelosi said during an interview on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”
Slotkin on Sunday, during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” made a call for “new blood” in the Democratic Party, targeting leaders in the House, Senate and White House.
“I have been very vocal, including with my own leadership in the House, that we need a new generation. We need new blood, period, across the Democratic Party, in the House, the Senate and the White House,” the two-term Michigan Democrat said.
“I’ve said I think we need new leaders. I would love to see some Midwestern leaders in there. Right? That’s been important to me, is to reflect the middle of the country. We’re here too. And but I do think new blood is a good thing,” she added.
Asked what she says to members of her caucus, especially the young lawmakers, who want to see change, Pelosi told MSNBC, “I say just win, baby. Just win.”
“If that’s what you have to say to win, fine, and we will not in any way do anything but totally supportive — mobilizationwise, messagewise, moneywise — for those people to win their races,” she added.
Slotkin is not alone in calling for new faces in the highest echelons of the Democratic Party. Last month, Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) put out a scathing statement that said “the Democratic Party needs new leaders in the halls of Capitol Hill.”
The Virginia Democrat’s outrage came after top lawmakers in the caucus scrapped plans to vote on legislation banning lawmaker stock trading, which many representatives in tough reelection races — including Spanberger — were pushing for.
Conversations regarding leadership of the Democratic Party have accelerated in recent weeks as the calendar inches closer to the November midterm elections.
They are also particularly salient considering the ages of top Democrats in Washington: President Biden turns 80 next month, Pelosi is 82, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) is 83, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) is 82 and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) is 71.
Pelosi in 2018 made a pledge to step down from the chamber’s top spot at the end of this year in order to shore up support for her Speakership bid that year. A group of roughly 20 Democrats were threatening their support for her, but the vow assuaged enough concern to hand her the Speaker’s gavel.
Slotkin was part of the group opposed to Pelosi’s third Speakership bid in 2019 and ultimately voted “present.” In 2021, she voted “present” again.
Questions are now looming about whether Pelosi will follow through on that promise and step down from the leadership post or vie for another term at the top of the caucus. Some House Democrats think that will come down to how the party performs in the midterm elections next month.
If Democrats keep the House, which is unexpected according to election forecasters, some left-leaning House lawmakers think Pelosi will stay for another term as Speaker.
“If she wins, she stays,” said Rep. Ron Kind (D), a retiring Wisconsin moderate who had opposed Pelosi’s third bid for the Speakership. “If she doesn’t, I think there will be a serious discussion as far as what succession looks like then.”