Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is the woman who announced the commencement of impeachment hearings into President Donald Trump. From childhood to her storied political career, we run down the facts on this American politician.
We’ll always remember the gifs.
2019 will always be remembered as the year that Nancy Pelosi conquered the internet, one gif at a time. The American politician, whose storied political career dates back more than 30 years, turned 2019 into her own personal meme machine, starting off the year with gifs of her leaving the White House in a buttoned-up red coat, before continuing her internet domination with gifs of her slow-clapping at Donald Trump and, more recently, pointing her finger defiantly at him in a meeting.
These images – some of them moving – are a reminder of Pelosi’s immense political power as speaker of the house, the first woman in history to hold that role. And they’re also a reminder that if anyone is going to come good on their promise to impeach Donald Trump, it’s Pelosi.
Here is everything you need to know about Nancy Pelosi:
Nancy Pelosi’s early life
Pelosi was born in March 1940, the youngest of seven children. She is the daughter of a Congressman – her father was a member of the House of Representatives in Maryland and would eventually become Mayor of Baltimore. (Her brother would later whole the position.)
Politics, therefore, was an easy choice for young Nancy. Even as a teenager she volunteered for her father and attended political addresses. She studied political science at Trinity College in Washington DC as a young woman, before marrying her classmate husband Paul Pelosi in 1963. The couple have five children: Nancy, Christine, Jacqueline, Paul and Alexandra. She has nine grandchildren.
Nancy Pelosi’s political career
Pelosi is currently in her 17th term in Congress, after being first voted in in 1987 as a representative for San Francisco. She was voted in at a time when women made up just 5% of politicians – now they number 20.6%, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. Since then, Pelosi has held several offices, including House Minority Whip, Leader of the House Democrative Caucus, House Minority Leader and, since 3 January 2019, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Speaking to Rolling Stone in February, Pelosi stressed that she wants her legacy to be ensuring that women in politics are never defined by their gender.
“I don’t want to confine women to just [women’s] issues, as important as they are,” she said. “Women here are leaders on national security, they’re leaders on economic security. Women have made their mark across the board. Certainly the impact on a woman’s right to choose and the rest of that. No denying that women have made a tremendous difference, but not to confine women to what you might think of as typical women’s issues. Every issue a woman’s issue.”
Biggest achievements, from Speaker of the House to impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump
Pelosi is a trailblazer. During her tenure, Pelosi has overseen some of biggest bills and new laws in American history, including the Affordable Care Act, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act and the 2010 Tax Relief Act. She has served as Speaker of the House twice, the first woman in history to hold the role. As Speaker, Pelosi is the highest-ranking female politician in the US.
More recently, Pelosi’s biggest achievement might be commencing impeachment hearings into Donald trump, which she announced on 24 September 2019 and which she has continued to press over the past month.
“This is a sad thing for our country,” Pelosi said, speaking to Stephen Colbert. “We do this prayerfully, with great seriousness. The patriotism, the Constitution is really what impeachment is about… How we go forward is a test for us to do so worthy of the Constitution. No one is above the law. President of the United States or not.”
Pelosi was moved to call for formal impeachment proceedings after learning of phone calls between Trump and the Ukraine in which the president “undermined our national security to the benefit of the Russians”.
The last president to be impeached was Richard Nixon, and it only came about because of the Watergate scandal. But Pelosi has given several interviews in which she stresses that the information gathered against Trump are enough to indict him. “If this president were to get away with this, forget about it all,” she told The Atlantic. “We might as well not even run for office. You don’t need this branch of government if he’s going to overturn the power of the purse, if he is going to overturn all of the other checks and balances, the power of inquiry.”
What Pelosi stressed, though, is that if and when impeachment proceedings go forward, they will do so confidently. “When we decide if we are going to go forward, we will be ready, and we will be ironclad,” she told The Atlantic.