Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge joined the ever-rising chorus of people calling for California Rep. Nancy Pelosi to step down as speaker of the House, saying it’s time for new leadership for the Democratic Party.
In an interview with HuffPost, Fudge called out what she considered Pelosi’s dismal support of black candidates, saying the Congressional Black Caucus—which she used to chair—hasn’t been “feeling the love” from the former House speaker.
“I don’t have a pitch because at this point I’ve not decided I’m going to run,” Fudge told the Post, referring to her own potential candidacy for House speaker. “But I would say this: My concern about the caucus is the same concern I have about the country. Just as there is this undertone of racism in the country, there’s also that in our caucus.”
Fudge pointed to Pelosi’s refusal to endorse in the race for majority whip, a contest between the current No. 3 Democrat—and CBC stalwart—Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.).
“But she wants our endorsements?” Fudge said of Pelosi. “Who has she endorsed?”
Pelosi, who has been widely criticized by progressives as well as conservatives, has essentially dared challengers to oppose her for the role, which she has held since 2011.
As CNN reports, Fudge was among 17 signees who pledged not to vote for Pelosi come January, when the House speaker vote will be held (the signees were a mix of incumbents and newly elected reps). Like many progressives, Fudge feels it’s high time for a House speaker who better reflects the black and brown voters who fueled the party’s gains in recent years.
“What is wrong with acknowledging the fact that the Democratic Party is becoming more young, more black, and more brown?” Fudge told HuffPost. “And letting that be reflected in our leadership.”
Fudge also seemed to agree with critics who saw the current House speaker as an “elitist.”
“I think to some degree she is,” she said. “She’s a very wealthy person. She raises a lot of money from a lot of other wealthy people.”
“Everybody wants to give her such big credit for winning back the House, and she should be here because she won. She didn’t win it by herself,” Fudge continued, adding that if Pelosi is going to take credit for the 2016 wins in the House, she must also be credited with the losses Democrats sustained from 2010 to 2016, when Democrats lost 63 House seats, and Republicans maintained a large majority in subsequent terms.
Pelosi’s supporters have tried to insinuate that the challenges to her role are fueled by sexism—Pelosi herself hasn’t refuted that claim.
“You’d have to ask them. If, in fact, there is any misogyny involved in it, it’s their problem, not mine,” Pelosi said of her critics at a press conference last Thursday.
“I enjoy a tremendous amount of support from the women in our caucus, from the new members who are women in our caucus. And so I get the upside, I think, of being a woman,” she said.
But while it is noteworthy that Sen. Chuck Schumer received relatively little blowback in resuming his role as Senate minority leader, it’s also true that criticisms of Pelosi have come across the political spectrum, from people with widely divergent backgrounds.
Fudge, for her part, tried to make clear that she doesn’t hold anything personal against Pelosi.
“I don’t hate Nancy. I think Nancy has been a very good leader,” Fudge said. “I just think it’s time for a new one.”