Top-level members of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team celebrated Democrats choosing to keep Nancy Pelosi as House minority leader, a decision that came after bruising losses for the party in this year’s general election.
Pelosi, who has been in Congress for 30 years and led House Democrats for the past 14, faced a challenge from Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who said the party needed new leadership after Hillary Clinton’s shocking loss to Trump in the general election. The House and Senate are also controlled by Republicans.
Some top Republicans seemed happy with the continuation of the status quo for Democrats.
“What a relief,” top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, who was his campaign manager, tweeted Wednesday. “I was worried they had learned from the elections & might be competitive and cohesive again.”
Conway said Democrats missed an opportunity to “step away from massive electoral losses (60 seats in House, [White House], 1000+ state legislators)” and “connect [with] workers.”
Republican National Committee communications director and Trump transition team adviser Sean Spicer was similarly pleased.
Spicer said in a subsequent tweet that the “real winner” of Pelosi’s election was the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Democrats seem aware of the need for change. Although Pelosi won the House election by a two-thirds majority, a significant portion of the Democratic caucus (63 for Ryan vs. 134 for Pelosi) voted her challenger. Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, an up-and-coming Democratic caucus member, said she was “deeply disappointed” her colleagues had voted to “double down” on a “failed strategy.”
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