On the day President Joe Biden launched his reelection bid, House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi said that while he faces political challenges, she is positive about his chances in 2024. Speaking to TIME National Political Correspondent Molly Ball at the TIME100 Summit in New York City, she said she “was very excited about the President announcing.”
“I think that his record of performance is something that we have some more work to do, and we want him to go forward.” Pelosi praised Biden’s vision, judgment, strategic thinking, empathy, and experience. She joked that his announcement was very early—very early in the morning, California time, that is.
Addressing a question about Democrats’ skepticism toward Biden’s reelection bid, she said that they are “going to be on board.” “In terms of the Democrats, I know a little bit about that because I go to their meetings all over,” she said. “And yes, they’d rather he be younger. But they’re all for him.” “There’s little, shall we say, sidebar stuff, but by-and-large, people understand there’s so much at stake in this election that it’s really important for us to go full strength, full strength Joe Biden,” said Pelosi.
Pelosi positioned the upcoming election as a fight for freedom and kitchen table issues, like reproductive choice. She acknowledged Democrats’ tough losses last year in New York, saying her sights were set on picking seats back up in the Empire State. Asked about threats to democracy, which Biden has said he’s campaigning to defend, she emphasized the importance of getting dark money out of politics, saying: “My view is that it’s all about, in our country, about money.”
The Speaker Emerita demurred when asked how much longer she planned to serve in Congress. “I’m not prepared to make any announcements here today,” she said, eliciting laughs. “I just take it one election at a time. Right now, we really must win this election.” She gestured toward a large gold pin on her lapel, adding, “I wear with pride this pin that was given to me after I almost one year ago to today visited Ukraine. Their democracy is really further at risk.”
Pelosi, who became the first woman to serve as Speaker in 2007, was an honoree of the TIME100 list in 2019, the year she reclaimed the gavel following her party’s majority-making victories in the 2018 midterms. Pelosi stepped back from congressional leadership this year, but continues to guide the next generation in Congress. “She called me ‘rank-and-file,’” Pelosi joked when Ball asked how she was enjoying her less-prominent role.
Pelosi’s successor, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, is an honoree on this year’s TIME100 list. Pelosi authored his entry, promising, “Our entire country will benefit from his new leadership—and one day very soon, he will be an excellent Speaker of the House!”
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