President Biden on Thursday honored the career of outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), saying that his fellow Democrat and ally is a person of dignity.
“She might be stepping down from her leadership role in the House Democratic Caucus, but she will never waiver in protecting our sacred democracy,” the president said in a statement.
“As a nation, we owe her a deep debt of gratitude for her service, her patriotism, and above all, her absolute dignity.”
Pelosi took to the House floor Thursday afternoon to announce she will step down next year from her spot at the top of the party after leading Democrats for the last two decades, but she will remain in Congress.
Biden spoke personally with Pelosi earlier on Thursday morning over the phone and “congratulated her on her historic tenure as Speaker of the House,” according to the White House.
Her departure from leadership came shortly after late midterm results had officially flipped House control to the Republicans.
“There are countless examples of how she embodies the obligation of elected officials to uphold their oath to God and country to ensure our democracy delivers and remains a beacon to the world. In everything she does, she reflects a dignity in her actions and a dignity she sees in the lives of the people of this nation,” Biden said in his statement.
Biden argued that Pelosi “is the most consequential Speaker of the House of Representatives in our history” and said that he watched her “in action” during his career from senator to vice president to president.
“With Nancy, you see a father’s daughter who learned by his side how to win and govern. With her leading the way, you never worry about whether a bill will pass. If she says she has the votes, she has the votes. Every time,” he said.
The president reportedly told Pelosi on a phone call last week, following the House Democrats better-than-expected performance in the midterm elections, “I hope you stick.”
Pelosi, 82, and Biden, soon to be 80, have been longtime admirers and colleagues of one another and have bonded throughout past decades in office over their similarities, from their policies to their Catholic faith.
Pelosi, in her remarks on the House floor, mentioned working with Biden, as well as former Presidents Obama and George W. Bush. She notably did not mention former President Trump who earlier this week launched another White House bid.
In his statement, Biden said that Pelosi worked with him to pass critical parts of his agenda thus far, citing the American Rescue Plan, the infrastructure law, the CHIPS and Science Act, gun control legislation and the Democrats’ sweeping climate and tax bill.
He also noted that Pelosi worked with Obama on an economic rescue package during the Great Recession, passed the Affordable Care Act and ended “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the military’s policy barring openly LGBT people from serving.
Recently, Biden leant his support to Pelosi after her husband, Paul Pelosi, was attacked last month at the couple’s San Francisco home. He ripped Republicans who made jokes about it and criticized those who didn’t offer a full condemnation of it.
Days later, Biden gave a speech on democracy, during which he focused on Paul Pelosi’s attack at the start of his remarks.
On Thursday, Biden said that Pelosi is a fierce defender of democracy, citing the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
“History will also note her fierceness and resolve to protect our democracy from the violent, deadly insurrection of January 6th. It’s a threat of political violence and intimidation that continues and she and her family know all too well, but that will never stop her from serving our nation,” he said.
The president said that he and first lady Jill Biden consider the Pelosi family among their dearest friends.