OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that she will not seek re-election as the top Democrat in the House but will remain in Congress. Pelosi made the announcement from the House floor in a speech.
“For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect,” said Pelosi.
Prior to Pelosi’s speech on Wednesday, a report from Puck News stated that Pelosi will not serve as the House minority leader but remain in Congress.
Sometime around noon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will walk out onto the House floor to take her final bow after 19 years as head of the Democratic caucus with a speech about passing the torch from one generation to the next, I’m told. But instead of riding high into retirement, as has long been assumed, or becoming ambassador to Italy—a diplomatic posting the White House has been holding open for her—Pelosi will announce that she plans to stay in Congress as a backbencher, roaming the halls in a sort of emeritus role and helping to guide Democrats through their turn in the minority.
The decision to step down from leadership was reached over the weekend, as I reported on Monday after Pelosi crafted a retirement speech with the help of the celebrity historian and presidential biographer Jon Meacham, a favorite of the Democratic elite, including Joe Biden, for exactly these types of moments. I was told there were multiple drafts of the speech, signifying Pelosi’s indecision and the fluidity of the midterm election results.
The drama didn’t stop there as Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, has been accused of “abusing” reporter Tara Palmeri for her report — which turned out to be accurate.
Hours before Pelosi’s speech, Palmeri released a story saying, “Pelosi will announce that she plans to stay in Congress as a backbencher, roaming the halls in a sort of emeritus role and helping to guide Democrats through their turn in the minority.” This was preceded by Palmeri’s earlier reporting that Hakeem Jeffries is likely to be chosen as the next Democratic House leader.
Palmeri’s story on the leadership shift included a quote from Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, who flatly denied that the House speaker had made a definite choice.
“Nothing in this reporting is correct,” said Hammill. “As the Speaker just stated yesterday on national TV, she will make a decision once all the votes have been counted. She’s not even thinking about her future at this moment.”
Beyond the quote in Palmeri’s story, Hammill got on Twitter in the last few days to attack her reporting and say she “has zero sourcing in Pelosi world but is constantly trying to break news.”
He continued this diatribe by saying, “I don’t know who reads Puck, let alone pays for it, but I wanted to get ahead of Tara Palmeri’s latest typo-ridden Pelosi scoop to let everyone know that it’s complete trash just like the last ones. That’s all.”
The Speaker has not made a decision about her future. As the Speaker just stated yesterday on national TV, she will make a decision once all the votes have been counted. She’s not even thinking about her future at this moment.
— Drew Hammill (@Drew_Hammill) November 14, 2022
I don't know who reads @PuckNews let alone pays for it, but I wanted to get ahead of @tarapalmeri's latest typo-ridden Pelosi scoop to let everyone know that it's complete trash just like the last ones. That's all.
— Drew Hammill (@Drew_Hammill) November 14, 2022
Palmeri took on the verbal abuse with her stoic observation that she “touched a nerve.”
touched a nerve…
— Tara Palmeri (@tarapalmeri) November 14, 2022
The animosity resumed on Thursday when Hammill went after Palmeri by referring to reports that Pelosi had two speeches prepared to reflect whichever decision she would make.
“Anybody who tells you they know what she will do is a liar,” Hammill said.
I hate to break it to my favorite reporter but the Speaker took two versions of her speech home last night as has been reported. Anybody who tells you they know what she will do is a liar. https://t.co/kigcUnmiL7
— Drew Hammill (@Drew_Hammill) November 17, 2022
Now that Pelosi’s decision has been publicly announced, Palmeri’s report has been proven accurate. Thus, the Puck writer has been retweeting several political observers who’ve been calling Hammill out for his unwarranted, hostile conduct toward her.
This is not okay, Drew. Especially when you're wrong. Abuse is not part of the job. pic.twitter.com/5q4ya5BpG1
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) November 17, 2022
Many others slammed Hammill:
So what was the point of this exactly? https://t.co/2ZHp8PcOwz
— Andrew Egger (@EggerDC) November 17, 2022
— Gabe Fleisher (@WakeUp2Politics) November 17, 2022
This is what ended up happening https://t.co/kha1DBrhBt
— Matt Holt (@mattholt33) November 17, 2022
— Matt Mackowiak (@MattMackowiak) November 17, 2022
“Constantly trying to break news nevertheless.”
New @PuckNews motto.
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) November 17, 2022