Christine Pelosi would face scrutiny of past comments if she runs for mom's House seat
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As Christine Pelosi’s potential political future again hit the news, the daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi devoted some of the last week to dwelling on 2016, the year she stepped into the national spotlight in her own right.
Days after Politico reported buzz is building that the younger Pelosi would run for the San Francisco-based 12th Congressional District seat if her mother retires, she tweeted about Hillary Clinton, who lost the 2016 presidential race to Donald Trump.
“Still With Her,” she tweeted about Clinton endorsing a California Democrat, adding, “Pride and regret at what could have been …. as we stare down democracy in peril, we must do all we can to never again feel the way we did election night 2016 or January 6th, 2021.”
Two days later, she tweeted about a negative story regarding Trump, with a Gif saying, “But Her Emails,” a sarcastic reference to Clinton’s private email server that was subject of an FBI investigation during her presidential campaign.
Though her mother has been either speaker or House Democratic leader since 2003, and a member of Congress since 1987, Christine Pelosi really came on the national stage after the 2016 election in an attempt to prevent the Electoral College from voting for Trump – and at least a loose association with a group called the Hamilton Electors.
She has also been a player in California Democratic politics for years. This year, she made news for clashing with some in her party over Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall election and also criticized the owner of the San Francisco Giants. In 2020, she garnered negative attention for seemingly endorsing violence against a Republican senator.
Christine Pelosi has been the chairwoman of the California Democratic Women’s Caucus, an executive committeewoman for the Democratic National Committee, and was formerly listed as a partner in the Democratic political consulting firm Democracy Partners. She’s also remains active on social media.
If the speaker doesn’t run for reelection in 2022, Christine Pelosi would have name recognition and access to her mother’s donor list. But she would likely face some scrutiny about her activist past.
Neither Speaker Pelosi’s office nor the California Democratic Women’s Caucus responded to inquiries for this story.
Electoral College ‘a deliberative body’
In 2016, she was first a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention, and, more notably a presidential elector for California.
After Trump’s Election Day victory over Clinton in November, Pelosi led a letter with initially nine other electors, one a Republican, asking then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for a briefing on Russian meddling in the presidential campaign before casting their vote in December. Eventually, more than 60 electors added their names.
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Christine Pelosi and Amy Holmes speak onstage during Politicon 2018 on Oct. 21, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Politicon)
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Nancy Pelosi embraces her daughter Christine and granddaughter Bella before speaking at her annual New Years celebration at the Golden Gate Club in San Francisco, on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. (Gabrielle Lurie/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)
“We do not understand our sole function to be to convene in mid-December, several weeks after Election Day, and summarily cast our votes,” the electors’ letter said. “To the contrary, the Constitution envisions the Electoral College as a deliberative body that plays a critical role in our system of government – ensuring that the American people elect a president who is constitutionally qualified and fit to serve.”
It was through the intelligence briefing call with electors that Christine Pelosi came in contact with a group called the Hamilton Electors – Democratic electors who were trying to strike an agreement with enough Republican electors to throw the presidency to someone other than Trump. Pelosi told Politico in a December 2016 article that she opted to not endorse their push, and was in a separate lane.
However, in a September 2019 tweet, she referenced “us Hamilton electors,” implying she had been aligned with the group.
‘Neighbor Was Right’
In 2020, she appeared to have supported, or at best joked about, the felony assault against Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., by the senator’s neighbor in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Senator Rand Paul speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington on March 18, 2021.
(Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
In the 2017 incident, Paul’s neighbor was sentenced to 30 days in jail after he broke five of the senator’s ribs and caused lung damage.
In March 2020, after Paul was diagnosed with COVID-19, it prompted some of his Senate colleagues to self-quarantine.
At this, Pelosi tweeted, “Rand Paul’s neighbor was right.”
The tweet was deleted, but a few months later, she complained that Twitter temporarily suspended her but did not suspend then-President Trump.
“You suspended me for tweeting that an aggravated neighbor was right to want to use violence — but keep Trump’s account uninterrupted after he incites violence against #BlackLivesMatter protesting the police policy reform you claim to seek. Suspend him as you did me!” she tweeted.
Scolding Giants owner: ‘Pathetic’
At the beginning of this year, Pelosi slammed San Francisco Giants’ owner Charles B. Johnson for having donated to the campaign of Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.
Rep. Lauren Boebert waits for the start of a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 1, 2021.
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)
At the Jan. 6 riot, in which Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, Boebert tweeted that the House speaker was removed from her chambers. Some of the Capitol rioters were shouting threats about the speaker.
Christine Pelosi told the Sacramento Bee, “This is pathetic,” adding, “it’s about someone who tweeted the whereabouts of a person that was target of an assassination.”
Nevertheless, the younger Pelosi has shown a streak of political independence that could draw some crossover appeal – after butting heads with supporters of Gov. Gavin Newsom in May at the California Democratic Party’s online convention.
A resolution opposing the recall election called it a “Republican recall” and “partisan power grab.” Pelosi tweeted this was “FALSE and offensive” because she knows Newsom voters from 2018 that signed the recall petition in 2021.
As a convention delegate, she backed removing the language about “Republican” and “partisan,” while still opposing the recall itself. But her side lost by a vote of 637-583. She tweeted that the state party “must acknowledge Democrats and independents who signed the recall and engage them with empathy.”
Politico reported in November that California insiders say that if Speaker Pelosi doesn’t run for reelection in 2022, her daughter wants the seat – but will likely face competition in a Democratic primary. California Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener is also reportedly a strong contender for the seat.
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For the heavily blue district, a Democratic primary would be the determining factor.
Christine Pelosi has avoided appearing as if she is jockeying for the House seat, as Democrats are depending on the speaker to raise big donations for the party going into what’s expected to be a tough midterm, Politico reported. That means she would likely want to delay announcing her plans for the 2022 ballot.
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