Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sent her final letter as Speaker of the House on Monday, marking the end of a long and ruthless reign as leader of the House Democrats.
Pelosi said she was “humbled by the faith placed in me to serve as Speaker” as she prepared to formally step aside before the swearing-in of a Republican House majority on Tuesday.
After ruling House Dems with an iron fist for 20 years, Pelosi thanked Democrats for the “high honor.”
“Today, I write to you my last Dear Colleague as Speaker of the House to express my appreciation for the high honor bestowed upon me by House Democrats,” she wrote.
In characteristically florid language, Pelosi expressed hope that the next generation of Democrat leaders would remain devoted to “our treasured Democracy,” touting House Democrats as “the greatest collection of intellect, integrity and imagination assembled for the good of the American people.”
She praised Democrats’ work with President Biden over the past two years, saying it “put forth a shining vision of justice for all, and “is making a real difference in the lives of the American people.”
A deeply polarizing figure, Pelosi ends her career as Speaker with an approval rating in the lows 30s, but she has received glowing tributes from fellow Democrats, legacy media like the New York Times, and even some Republicans like former Speaker John Boehner.
“No other Speaker of the House in the modern era, Republican or Democrat, has wielded the gavel with such authority or with such consistent results,” Boehner said last month.
Pelosi has led the Democrats as both Speaker and minority leader since 2003. One of her biggest legislative wins was the passage of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
In the latter stage of her career, she became known as a fierce enemy of President Donald Trump, who she impeached twice.
Her flamboyant theatrics and unrelenting appetite for partisan warfare made her a liberal icon in the Trump era. In an infamous gesture that had Democrats swooning, Pelosi tore up Trump’s State of the Union address.
She later drew controversy for turning the Capitol, known as the “People’s House,” into a forbidding garrison for months following the January 6th, 2021 “insurrection,” and forming a partisan committee to investigate what she called “the enemy within” following the riot.
Although Pelosi is handing over the Speaker’s gavel for a second and last time, the notoriously ambitious 82-year-old will remain in the halls of Congress as a rank-and-file member.
It was unclear as of Tuesday who would succeed Pelosi as Speaker after Republican Kevin McCarthy (Ca.) failed three rounds of votes.