President Trump gave full backing to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in her quest to lead the bolstered Democratic caucus as Speaker of House, going so far as to tell reporters he would get her Republican votes if needed, and that liberals challenging her “are wasting their time.”
Fox News reports:
“I like her, can you believe it?” Trump told reporters outside the White House before departing for California. “She’s tough and she’s smart, but she deserves to be speaker.”
Trump’s unlikely support comes as Pelosi faces a tough path to regaining the gavel — which she held between 2007-11, the last time Democrats controlled the House. While Pelosi had said she is “confident” she will be speaker, at least 17 House Democrats have signed onto a document saying they won’t support her. Meanwhile, Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, is mulling a leadership challenge and said she will announce her decision after Thanksgiving.
To get the gavel, Pelosi will first need to pick up a majority of the Democratic caucus in internal leadership elections, then go on to win an absolute majority of the House. If all those Democrats joined Republicans in voting against Pelosi on the floor, Pelosi would not have the votes for speaker.
But Trump told reporters that he would get Republicans to vote for her in the House if she needed Republican support.
Trump did not give any indication as to whether his olive branch represented a genuine act of bipartisanship or a political calculation, given Pelosi’s unpopularity.