While announcing her decision to remain House Minority Leader Wednesday morning, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) blasted NBC correspondent Luke Russert for suggesting she was hurting the party because of her age.
The exchange began when Russert told Pelosi, “colleagues privately say that your decision to stay on prohibits the party from having a younger leadership and hurts the party in the long term.” Russert said.
The question prompted a round of boos from the group of female lawmakers who joined Pelosi for her announcement, with one yelling, “Discrimination! Age Discrimination” while Pelosi initially waved his question off, before saying Russert would never ask that of 80-year-old Senate Minority Leader Rep. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
“Let’s, for a moment, honor it as a legitimate question, although it’s quite offensive,” said Pelosi. “The fact is, is that everything that I have done in my — I guess — decade now of leadership is to elect younger and newer people to the congress.”
Pelosi, who is 72 years old — the same age as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — also said that, in her own experience, it was important to help young women get elected, pointing out that her male colleagues had “a jump” on her because she wasn’t elected to Congress until she was 62.
“I was blessed to have that opportunity — to sequentially raise my family then come to Congress,” she said. “But I wanted women to be here in greater numbers at an earlier age so that their seniority would start [to accumulate] much sooner.”
Watch the exchange between Pelosi and Russert, posted on YouTube Wednesday by user “John Apple,” below.