House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s recent legislative deals with President Donald Trump are not enough to change Rep. Seth Moulton’s mind about the need for new party leadership. For the Massachusetts congressman, it’s necessary for Democrats to “start winning again.”
“I give her a lot of credit for doing that. It’s credit that’s well deserved,” Moulton said of Pelosi’s negotiations on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. “But she would be in a much better negotiating position if Democrats controlled the House of Representatives than we are in now. And that’s why I think it’s so important that we have a leadership change so that we can start winning again.”
Pelosi has led the Democratic caucus in the House since 2003 and has said she would have retired had Hillary Clinton won last year’s presidential election.
Moulton said his call for fresh leadership “is nothing personal against Nancy Pelosi,” arguing that Pelosi has become too much of a lightning rod for Republicans to unify their opposition.
“A lot of that isn’t entirely fair either, the way she’s been painted by the Republicans. In fact, it’s in some ways, it’s just totally immoral. It’s wrong. But nonetheless it’s been effective,” Moulton told David Axelrod on “The Axe Files,” a podcast from the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.
“There’s this yearning, I think, for for a new generation of Democrats to step up and say we need to get back in touch with middle America who we’ve lost” he added.
Pelosi talked to CNN’s Mark Preston last week about the conflict among Democrats.
“The thing is that you can’t let the opposition choose your leaders, you can’t feed into that. Now there is personal ambition in our caucus, there’s no question about that, but I feel very confident in the full support that I have in my caucus,” Pelosi said. “I will always have a conversation with any member who wants to have a conversation. But I wouldn’t elevate them to a high level in our caucus, because they really don’t have much of a following.”
It is not the first time that Moulton has called for Pelosi’s ouster. However, the 38-year-old congressman said he has no plans to personally challenge her for the role.
“I promised that I wouldn’t run because I wanted to people know that I wasn’t doing this to advance my own career,” he told Axelrod.
Moulton also maintained that he has no White House aspirations, despite a heavy travel schedule and an appearance at Tom Harkin’s Iowa Steak Fry – an event commonly seen as a bellwether for presidential candidates.
“I’m flattered by the question and I appreciate the encouragement that a lot of people have given me. But the reality is that I am squarely focused on 2018,” he said. “But if you’re going to win in 2018, if we’re going to take back the House in 2018, it means you have to travel and support candidates and it means you have to try to get people to understand what it means to have a new generation of leadership in the party.”
Moulton did note, however, that he believes he’s “a hell of a lot more prepared” for the presidency “than the current occupant of that office.” Moulton, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee and completed four tours of Iraq with the Marines, blasted Trump’s combative rhetoric towards North Korea. He called the escalating tensions between North Korea and the international community “deadly serious” and urged a diplomatic response.
“We have a commander in chief who’s wild and erratic and irresponsible, has had a lot of bluster. But I think ultimately all that bluster is a blunder and it could get us into some real deep trouble,” Moulton said.
“Donald Trump may talk a big game but he doesn’t really respect or understand what it means to put your life on the line for the country,” he added later in the interview.