Pelosi faces uncertain future weeks after her husband’s attack

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The morning after the midterm elections, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi donned a sterling silver whistle given to her by her husband, who was attacked last month by an intruder at their San Francisco home.

The whistle was similar to those worn by coaches or drill sergeants, and she carried it to her office after a long night watching the election results.

The staffers gathered for a pizza lunch in the same conference room where she led her party through some of the most tumultuous times at the United States Capitol.

She whistled as she entered and the staff clapped. With the races getting closer and many votes still being counted, it was time for the wait to begin.

The final results will determine which party controls the House — and Pelosi’s future.

The Democratic leader, whose plans are uncertain, has come to a crossroads: the nation’s first and only speaker could be forced to give up the gavel if Republicans win majority control, with a potential defeat coming just weeks away. after the frightening assault that fractured it. husband’s skull.

This could be the end of Pelosi’s long tenure in Congress. Or not.

Many expect her to retire rather than lead Democrats in a shrunken minority. The attack on her husband, Paul, made her exit even more likely.

He was assaulted less than two weeks before the election when a man invaded their home looking for his wife.

And yet, after becoming perhaps the most important Speaker of the House in decades, Pelosi is not one to simply walk away.

When asked ahead of the election whether she had decided to stay or go, she only said the attack on her husband of nearly 60 years would be a factor.

“I have to say my decision will be affected by what happened,” Pelosi told CNN.

The answer has become something of a Rorschach test on Capitol Hill: Some think Pelosi will retire to spend time with her family — she and her husband are both 82. Others sensed his determination to stay on the job.

A cohort of young Democratic lawmakers, some of whom have spent years in Congress, are waiting for Pelosi and other top House leaders to hand over the baton.

She had once said that this would be her last term as director, but that was four years ago, and she doesn’t talk about it anymore.

“That’s a conversation for another day,” Pelosi said on election night on PBS’s “NewsHour.” Pelosi’s rise instantly established her place in history — not just as the first female speaker, but as the only speaker in 70 years to win the job twice, in 2007 and again in 2019.

But it’s what Pelosi did with the hammer — enacting the Affordable Care Act with Barack Obama and twice impeaching Donald Trump — that seals his legacy as one of America’s strongest political figures.

The day after the election, she arrived in Egypt for the COP-27 international climate change conference as she works to project American influence abroad.

One of her first pieces of legislation as a new lawmaker 35 years ago was climate-related.

For years, Pelosi has been ridiculed by Republicans, her image ridiculed more than any other in endless GOP campaign ads.

Top Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have played down the attack on her husband and spread false information about it.

A vulgar fringe theory has quickly made its way into the mainstream at a time of growing threats to the elect.

“A lot of people would wither away under the pressure she’s under,” said Douglas Brinkley, a history professor at Rice University.

Brinkley said it would be sad if Pelosi’s career was over after “such a grotesque moment”. But he compared her to other powerful figures, including Coretta Scott King, who continued in public office after the assassination of her husband, Martin Luther King Jr.

“I see that spirit in her, that non-surrender — the courage,” Brinkley added, saying it reminded her of Theodore Roosevelt.

“She takes slingshots and arrows at the second, from every corner, but she constantly maintains a kind of political courage, personal integrity and pragmatic demeanor,” he said. “She’s legendary.” It’s possible that Pelosi will give up the hammer but remain in office for a while. After easily winning another two-year term representing her California district, she is eligible to be sworn in with the rest of the new Congress on January 3.

She called representing San Francisco her “greatest honor” since she was first elected to public office in 1987.

Paul Pelosi was struck in the head with a hammer, suffering a fractured skull and other injuries, authorities said. He was released after nearly a week in hospital following successful surgery.

His wife said his recovery would be “a long road”. The intruder, David DePape, 42, broke into the couple’s home asking “Where’s Nancy?” She was in Washington at the time. DePape has been charged with attempted murder.

DePape told police he wanted to speak to the speaker and would “break her kneecaps” if she did not answer his questions satisfactorily. His idea was for Pelosi to be propelled into Congress to show other Democrats that there were “consequences” for their actions. He is being held without bail.

The attack echoed the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising on the U.S. Capitol when Trump told his supporters to “fight like hell” for his presidency over false allegations that the 2020 election was rigged.

A crowd loyal to Trump stormed the Capitol to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory. Some called “Where’s Nancy?” as they walked through the hallways.

Asked on CNN about those who shed light on the attack on her husband, Pelosi said: ”It’s really sad for the country that people of such high profile are separating themselves from the facts and the truth. so blatantly. ” But she also said it was a time for healing – for her, Congress and the country.

“This institution is a great institution,” Pelosi said, recalling her father, a former congressman and mayor, teaching her about the Capitol as a young girl.

A portrait of Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, hangs on the conference room wall of his office in the Capitol.

“Seeing the January 6th assault on this Capitol was something so devastating and traumatic for so many of us,” she said, noting the echoes of the attack on her husband. “So I think it’s really important for us to find a way to restore unity to the United States Congress.”

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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