Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez continued to dodge questions about endorsing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi when asked two days after Democrats regained a majority in the House.
At a Monitor Breakfast in Washington on Thursday morning, Perez was asked if he would take a position on endorsing Pelosi as speaker.
The DNC chairman declined, instead saying he believes Democrats in the House should make the decision.
Perez said he has “great respect” for Pelosi but would not give her his endorsement.
“The second question that I’ll address as well which is the speaker issue,” he said. “Obviously the Democrats will resolve that now and I’m glad that we’re at the point where we are able to do that.
“I have great respect for Nancy Pelosi. I think this decision should be up to the Democrats in the House, and I’m sure that one question that people will raise their way in making their judgment is, you know, what are the most important issues confronting America and who is best situated to do it.”
Perez has previously dodged the question, echoing a similar message in late September in an interview at the Texas Tribune Festival with The Wall Street Journal’s Reid Epstein.
“I’m so grateful for the work that she did in bringing the Affordable Care Act to the American people,” he said. “Without Nancy Pelosi we wouldn’t have an Affordable Care Act, and health care is the No. 1 issue on the ballot.
“And so as members vote on who to have as our leader of the House, House speaker I should say, I’m sure that will be one factor that people will weigh because we are, we have to make sure we deliver on our promises of protecting access to health care for people across existing conditions and bringing down the cost of prescription drugs.
“And so I’m confident that people will weigh that as they move forward.”
A reporter in the room followed up by saying, “That doesn’t sound like an endorsement.”
Pelosi has said she thinks she’ll be the next speaker of the House. “I think I’m the best person to go forward,” she said Wednesday.
However, several Democrats — including Reps. Kathleen Rice of New York, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Filemon Vela of Texas and Tim Ryan of Ohio — have called for Pelosi to relinquish her leadership role.
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