Pelosi announcement caught even her biographer off guard


(NewsNation) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision today to step down from party leadership but to retain her role as U.S. representative for her San Francisco district caught many by surprise, and that includes the man who wrote the book on her.

Marc Sandalow, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Washington, D.C., bureau chief and author of “Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi’s Life, Times, and Rise to Power,” told NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” on Thursday, “It’s something none of us have ever heard before.”

Pelosi, according to the author, has always been sharply focused on taking control of political situations, not stepping away from them.

“She talks about how you don’t give, you take power. It’s not given to you. And here she was giving away power.”

Sandalow was also caught off guard by the timing of Pelosi’s announcement, given the divided House GOP caucus under presumed incoming Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

“She always felt she could do the job better than anybody else. Raising money, figuring out what legislation to bring forward, figuring out who to put in what districts to run against who and when,” he said. “And I can’t believe she still doesn’t believe that with Kevin McCarthy having a razor thin majority as new speaker, when he crosses that aisle to have to come ask for Democratic help, I think that Pelosi and probably a lot of members in Congress think there probably would have been nobody better to capitalize on that moment for Democrats. Nobody better than Nancy Pelosi.”

Sandalow also noted that while Pelosi has never been a great orator, her announcement today was startlingly eloquent.

“Her speech today was probably the best oratory I have ever heard from her. It was optimistic, and it spoke about a passion for public service, which, you know, really is in contrast to most of what you hear about Washington, D.C., as a cesspool in a swamp that needs to be drained,” he said. “She talked about the incredible things that have happened on that floor where she was speaking, ending slavery and (creating) Medicare and Social Security. And it really spoke to her complete commitment to and respect for public service.”

Watch the full interview with Marc Sandalow in the video player at the top of the page.

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