Speaker Nancy Pelosi is heading into the holidays emboldened, finishing a tumultuous year back in the majority by both impeaching President Donald Trump and then muscling through the House his biggest legislative win on trade — a signature issue for him — all within 24 hours.
Pelosi was assertive and upbeat during a year-end interview in her speaker’s suite Thursday, punching back at her GOP critics, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“Oh pfft,” Pelosi told POLITICO, waving her hand dismissively when asked about McConnell’s suggestion she was “too afraid” to send him the articles of impeachment against Trump, which would trigger a Senate trial on whether to oust the president.
“Fear is never a word used with me. You should know right away,” Pelosi added. “I’m never afraid and I’m rarely surprised.”
The California Democrat’s confidence comes after Congress wrapped up a heavy legislative workload for 2019, including passing key pieces of her party’s agenda. Lawmakers eagerly departed the Capitol Thursday for a nearly three-week recess, although many questions remain unanswered about the next steps on impeachment.
Pelosi, personally, is ending the year on a high note after successfully guiding her diverse, and at times fractured, caucus through a turbulent 12 months bookended by a record-breaking 35-day government shutdown in January and Trump’s impeachment in December.
Even after Democrats won back the House majority in November 2018, some members of Pelosi’s own caucus questioned whether she should be their leader and demanded term-limits on her second turn as speaker. Now, even her loudest Democratic critics are trumpeting Pelosi’s job performance.