House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is tired of being asked when she’ll step aside as Democratic leader, suggesting sexism is at play with such queries.
“When was the day that any of you said to Mitch McConnell when they lost the Senate three times in a row … ‘Aren’t you getting a little old, Mitch? Shouldn’t you step aside?’ ” Pelosi said Thursday to reporters at her weekly briefing. “It is just interesting as a woman how many times that question is asked of a woman and how many times that question is never asked of Mitch McConnell.”
Pelosi, the first woman to serve as House speaker when Democrats were in charge, is expected to once again be chosen as minority leader when her party holds leadership elections next week. She faces no opposition for the post. McConnell was officially chosen Senate majority leader Thursday by the GOP conference, by virtue of the Republican election victories last week. She is 74 years old; he is 72.
Pelosi told reporters that she serves at the pleasure of House Democrats. “I’m here as long as my members want me to be here, as long as there’s a reason to be here,” the California Democrat said. “I’m not here on a schedule.”
It’s not the first time Pelosi has been asked the question about her tenure in House leadership. She criticized NBC’s Luke Russert in 2012 when he specifically asked whether, by remaining in leadership, she prevents Democrats from having “younger leadership.” He noted that Pelosi, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and Assistant Democratic leader James Clyburn are all in their 70s.