House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she is waiting to decide about her next steps in the new Congress, saying any decision to run for leadership depends on her family and her Democratic colleagues.
“Well, the fact is, any decision to run is about family, and also my colleagues and what we want to do is go forward in a very unified way, as we go forward to prepare for the Congress at hand,” the California Democrat told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” “Nonetheless, a great deal is at stake because we’ll be in a presidential election. So my decision will again be rooted in the wishes of my family and the wishes of my caucus. But none of it will be very much considered until we see what the outcome of all of this is. And there are all kinds of ways to exert influence.”
“You’ll make a decision before (the Democrats’ leadership elections on Nov. 30)?” Bash asked Pelosi.
“Of course. Well, you know that I’m not asking anybody – People are campaigning, and that’s a beautiful thing. And I’m not asking anyone for anything,” Pelosi said.
When asked if she believes House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has what it takes to be House speaker if Republicans win the chamber, Pelosi said she wants to see the results of the election first.
“Let’s just get through the election, OK? They haven’t won yet. They’ve been measuring the draperies, they’ve been putting forth an agenda. They haven’t won it yet. After the election is concluded, depending on who was in the majority, there’ll be judgments made within their own party, in our own parties, as to how we go forward,” Pelosi said.
When Bash asked again if McCarthy “has it,” Pelosi said no.
“Why would I make a judgment about something that may or may not ever happen? No, I don’t think he has it,” she said. “But that’s up to his own people to make a decision as to how they want to be led or otherwise.”
The battle for control of the House is now the biggest unanswered question of this year’s midterm elections after Democrats kept their narrow Senate majority. Republicans have won 211 of the 218 seats they’d need to take the majority, according to CNN projections, while Democrats have won 204, with 20 undecided as of Sunday morning.
“I’m very proud of our Democratic candidates, both the incumbents seeking reelection and our red-to-blue – our challengers,” Pelosi said, adding later: “Who would have thought two months ago that this red wave would turn into a little tiny trickle, if that at all.”
Bash also asked the speaker if she believes the politically motivated attack on her husband had an impact on last week’s election. Paul Pelosi was attacked in the couple’s San Francisco home late last month and needed surgery to repair a skull fracture and injuries to his hand and arm that were sustained during the attack.
“It wasn’t just the attack. It was the Republican reaction to it, which was disgraceful,” Nancy Pelosi said, adding: “The attack is horrible. I mean, imagine what I feel as the one who was the target and my husband paying the price and the traumatic effect on our family.”
“But that trauma is intensified by the ridiculous disrespectful attitude that the Republicans – and there’s nobody disassociating themselves from the horrible response that they gave to it,” she said.
“Do you think that turned voters off?” Bash asked, to which Pelosi replied: “They tell me so.”
Pelosi said her husband is doing much better following the attack late last month.
“Each day takes us closer to recovery. It’s a long haul, but he’s doing well, comforted by the good wishes and especially the prayers of so many people throughout the country,” she said. “We thank them all for that. And again, so many who said, ‘I’m going to be sure to vote because this has gone too far.’”
This story has been updated with additional details Sunday.