Pelosi Opens the Door

nancy pelosi
Pelosi is not merely an elder Democratic stateswoman: She’s the only major player here who comes close to Biden’s stature. Photo: Damir Sencar/AFP/Getty Images
Abby Livingston
July 10, 2024

As the Biden campaign launched its taming-of-the-Hill campaign earlier this week, leaning on the president’s relationships to suppress a congressional revolt, Nancy Pelosi went dark. Her TV appearances slowed down, and during yesterday’s House Democratic caucus meeting, she remained quiet and in a listening posture as her colleagues debated the president’s future, according to a source in the room. So when word came that Pelosi planned to appear on Biden’s favorite show, Morning Joe, on Wednesday morning, it was clear she would be addressing an audience of one.

On the surface, the words she chose sounded innocuous enough. “It’s up to the president to decide if he is going to run,” Pelosi told Jonathan Lemire. “We’re all encouraging him to make that decision. Because time is running short.” But for the Democratic political class, her words may as well have been a thunderclap. Biden, of course, has been adamant, over and over again, that he’s already made his decision. Here was Pelosi, the elder stateswoman of the Democratic Party, blowing right past her president’s public statements and firmly and unequivocally resetting the table.