ATLANTA (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed Joe Biden’s presidential bid Monday, expanding the list of high-profile Democrats who’ve coalesced around the former vice president.
The California Democrat, in video remarks, said Biden offers “hope and courage, values, authenticity and integrity.” She said he’d be a “voice of reason and resilience” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Pelosi also cited Biden’s work as President Barack Obama’s vice president during the 2010 health care overhaul and the economic recovery acts after the 2008 financial collapse.
Her support wasn’t unexpected now that Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee to take on President Donald Trump in November. Still, her backing ratifies Biden’s contention that he is the party’s best chance to keep the House majority and regain Senate control from Republicans.
Pelosi spearheaded Democrats’ midterm House victories in 2018, when Democrats won more than 40 Republican-held seats to take the majority and hand Pelosi a second turn as the first woman speaker in U.S. history. Most of the party’s gains came in battleground districts anchored by suburbs and exurbs, places where the Biden campaign believes he can outpace Trump in November.
Biden campaigned for many of the current House freshmen, and he often cited their victories during his primary campaign against progressive presidential rivals. He argued that Democrats succeeded in the 2018 midterms because they did not move too far to the left in historically Republican-leaning districts. Pelosi has said repeatedly that Democrats win when they recruit candidates who “fit their district.”
The approach has exposed both Biden and Pelosi subject to criticism from Democrats’ left flank. Both argue against the “Medicare for All” single-payer insurance proposal advance by progressive Democrats, including Biden’s former primary rivals Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Pelosi and Biden counter with the argument that winning elections is the way to advance liberal policies. In the case of health care, their preferred next step is a “public option” government insurance plan that would compete with, but not replace private insurers.
The Biden-Pelosi alliance is not without political ironies. While Biden has worked for decades to cultivate his image as a working-class ally born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Pelosi has been a favorite target of Republicans who caricature the wealthy San Francisco Democrat as out of touch with most Americans. And as more Democrats, including Sanders and Warren, have endorsed Biden, Republicans have stepped up their efforts to tar Biden as moving too far left.