The 4 Most Surprising Quotes in Nancy Pelosi's NYT Magazine Interview | NTK Network The 4 Most Surprising Quotes in Nancy Pelosi’s NYT Magazine Interview

The 4 Most Surprising Quotes in Nancy Pelosi’s NYT Magazine Interview

The House minority leader, and potentially next speaker, gave a candid interview to New York Times Magazine published on Monday.

By NTK Staff | 11.19.2018 @10:30am
The 4 Most Surprising Quotes in Nancy Pelosi’s NYT Magazine Interview

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the potential next speaker of the House, gave a candid interview to New York Times Magazine published on Monday morning.

The profile is wide-ranging and spans major accomplishments throughout Pelosi’s career, but there are several notable quotes in the piece. Here are NTK Network’s top four moments from the profile.


Pelosi made clear from the start that she’ll have little patience for Democrats who are only seeking to do combat with Trump in the new House. She calls it the “Pound of Flesh Club.”

“In terms of subpoena power, you have to handle it with care,” Pelosi continued. “Yes, on the left there is a Pound of Flesh Club, and they just want to do to them what they did to us.” She shook her head emphatically. “That’s not who we are,” she said. “Go get somebody else if that’s who you want.”

Some of Pelosi’s would-be challengers to the speakership thus far have been moderate Democrats more likely to agree with her on Trump, so whether a stronger anti-Trump voice rises up to challenge her remains to be seen.


Pelosi didn’t hold back about her Republican adversary either, though. She told New York Times Magazine that President George W. Bush, the man in the Oval Office when she came to power in 2007, was “a gentleman.” As for Trump? (Emphasis ours.)

I asked her if she had any reason to believe Trump was willing to work together in good faith. She laughed. “I don’t think he knows,” she said. “You know how I talk to him?” She put down her spoon. “I just say it in public. That’s what he hears: what people say in public. Now, President Bush: a gentleman, we have disagreements on the liberal-conservative spectrum, but it’s not — my God.” She laughed mirthlessly as she thought of Trump again. “What’s the word I could use instead of ‘grotesque’?”


Any of the voices publicly challenging Pelosi in the coming weeks and months better be prepared for less power in the House, should she be leading it. Why? According to a former senior staff member, Pelosi has a word for people who are only “99 percent loyal” (again, emphasis ours):

By contrast, during Nancy Pelosi’s four years as speaker, there was no confusion as to who was in control. Pelosi used the tools at her disposal — committee assignments, campaign donations — to establish a balance among her party’s coalitions while also reminding everyone that her job was not simply to officiate and appease. As one of Pelosi’s former senior staff members, describing Pelosi’s outlook, told me: “What do you call a person who’s 99 percent loyal? Disloyal. She has a long memory.” Crossing Pelosi, it was understood, came at a cost.


Finally, Pelosi did give New York Times Magazine some sense of when she may finally ride off into the sunset of her political career. It all depends, she says, on the 2020 race.

Pelosi told me a few days before the election that she wouldn’t find it necessary to stay on if a Democrat became president in 2020. “I could walk away from that,” she said. “We’d be in good hands.” But she also mentioned that there were things she would like to accomplish that would probably be impossible under Trump, like addressing climate change. As always, Pelosi was preserving her options, assessing her leverage, committing to nothing until she had to.

Of course, the opportunity to pass Democratic priorities with a newly-elected president may be too good to pass up for Pelosi, who has shown to be a formidable politician if there ever was one.

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