House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly expressed frustration with both the Biden White House and left-wing members of her conference in recent months, questioning the appointments of White House chief of staff Ron Klain and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, according to a forthcoming book.
The extent of Pelosi’s bitterness is laid out in “This Will Not Pass,” by New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns — details of which were published by Punchbowl News Friday and underscore the fragility of Democratic Party unity entering this fall’s midterm elections.
According to Martin and Burns, the speaker is one of several high-level Democrats who have complained about Klain due to “his hard-charging manner and expansive intellectual confidence.”
During the 2020 presidential campaign, Pelosi became openly annoyed after an adviser told her to consult with Klain on health care legislation.
“What,” the pair report Pelosi asked, “does Ron Klain know about anything?”
When it came to Becerra, Martin and Burns write, Pelosi and other Democrats found him a “baffling” choice to run HHS due to his lack of a health care background. According to the authors, Pelosi also found Becerra “untrustworthy.”
“You should know who you’re hiring,” the speaker told Biden counselor Steve Ricchetti, according to a person briefed on the conversation.
“I may have some valuable information,” Pelosi reportedly added, noting that she and Becerra had served together in the House of Representatives for 24 years.
While Pelosi may not be completely in sync with the Biden White House, she reportedly has faced plenty of strife under the Capitol dome as well.
Last fall, for example, Martin and Burns report that Pelosi (D-Calif.) privately blasted the Congressional Progressive Caucus for its attempts to tank the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, telling another House Democrat at one point that CPC Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) were fighting to be the “queen bee” of the party.
Pelosi has also warned that the internal battle may very well cost Democrats the House in November, according to the book, telling one senior lawmaker that the party has “alienated Asian and Hispanic immigrants with loose talk of socialism.”
“In some of the same communities…,” the book, due out May 3, reportedly adds, “Democrats had not been careful enough about the way they spoke about abortion among new Americans who were devout people of faith.”
But Martin and Burns write that the trouble for Pelosi really began after her election to a fourth term as House speaker in January of last year, a position for which she felt she’d had to beg her caucus members to support her.
“At this point in my life, I don’t need this,” she reportedly vented to colleagues, later adding: “You couldn’t pay me a billion dollars to run for speaker again.”
Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill declined to comment on her reported frustration, telling The Post: “Under the Speaker’s leadership, House Democrats have made historic progress for the American people and are unified by the common purpose of addressing the needs of hardworking families.”
“Many books will be written about the challenges of legislating during the pandemic and a period of unprecedented Republican obstruction, and we won’t be commenting on the works that substitute gossip for fact,” Hammill added.