House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday she would not seek a leadership position in the new Congress.
The Democrat from California said in a speech on the House floor that she will stay in Congress but will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the new Congress.
Pelosi, first elected in 1987, served as a speaker with four different presidents in the White House, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden.
She left out Trump in glowing remarks to the 435-member body.
“I have enjoyed working with three presidents, achieving historic investments in clean energy with President George Bush; transformative health care reform with President Barack Obama, and forging the future — from infrastructure to health care to climate action — with President Joe Biden,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi’s party lost control of the House in the 2022 midterm elections, with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) poised to take over in January.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the current caucus chair, will rise into the Democrats’ top leadership spot as minority leader.
“I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” she said. “For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect,” Pelosi said, adding, “We must move boldly into the future.”
In remarks to her colleagues. Pelosi was greeted with six standing ovations.
The 82-year-old Pelosi’s decision to step aside was also based on what happened to her husband, Paul, last month, when he was attacked in their San Francisco home, leading to speculation that Pelosi would retire from political life.
“I quite frankly, personally, have been ready to leave for a while,” Pelosi said. “Because there are things I want to do. I like to dance, I like to sing. There’s a life out there, right?”
Biden called Pelosi on Thursday morning and congratulated her on her tenure.
“History will note she is the most consequential Speaker of the House of Representatives in our history,” Biden said in a statement, noting her ability to win unity from her caucus and her “absolute dignity.”
McCarthy, who said America had fired Pelosi when Republicans locked up their majority Wednesday night, skipped Pelosi’s speech.
“I had meetings,” McCarthy said.