California Rep. Nancy Pelosi says she must remain as the House Democrat leader to ensure a “top woman” is at the negotiating table, amid mounting calls within the party for changes in leadership.
Pelosi, whose has led House Democrats for more than a decade, made her comments Friday on ABC’s “The View.”
The 77-year-old House majority leader suggested that she was ready to leave Congress had Hillary Clinton been elected president and that she was the only woman at the table during a recent White House dinner.
"And that's why I have to stay there, to be one of the top women, top people at the table," Pelosi said.
The argument about a women at the negotiating table is the second mandate Pelosi has presented in recent weeks for her keeping her post.
Pelosi recently said she has a must protect ObamaCare, which as House speaker she helped pass about 8 years ago and that congressional Republicans continue to try to dismantle.
"I was ready to go if Hillary won, have a woman at the top of the table, protecting the Affordable Care Act, which is to me similar to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid," Pelosi said Friday.
Pelosi’s position as the top House Democrat – and one of the most powerful women in both congressional chambers – has been challenged before.
In 2016, after President Trump won the White House over Clinton and Democrats failed to retake control of either the House or Senate, Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan failed to unseat Pelosi.
But a growing chorus of dissatisfaction within the party, particularly from its most progressive wing, has taken aim at Pelosi and other establishment Democrats, including senior California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who earlier this week got a 2018 primary challenge.
And a fellow Californian and member of Pelosi's leadership team, Rep. Linda Sanchez, said earlier this month that it was time for Pelosi and other veteran leaders to step aside and make way for a new generation of party leaders.
Pelosi disputed the suggestion that divisions in the Democratic Party are as stark as those afflicting the GOP, and also said that despite some in her caucus who would like to see her go, she has many more allies who want her to remain.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.