Mika: Nancy Pelosi and the inspiring rise of strong women

Mika Brzezinski says this week has truly highlighted women trailblazers: "We have them everywhere. And Pelosi is leading the charge. Let’s all follow her lead."
Mika Brzezinski stands with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the Speaker's Balcony on Capitol Hill on Thursday.
Mika Brzezinski stands with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the Speaker's Balcony on Capitol Hill on Thursday.Courtesy of Joe Scarborough.

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By Mika Brzezinski

What a week it has been watching strong women rise up!

Yesterday, I stood on the Speaker’s Balcony on Capitol Hill with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. So much is happening in Speaker Pelosi’s personal and professional life. She coordinated the last-minute details of Rep. Elijah Cummings’ state funeral. She’s leading the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. And days ago, she lost her beloved brother, former Baltimore mayor Tommy D’Alessandro, who died from complications of a stroke.

This is an incredible amount of responsibility, stress, and grieving for any person to handle. But Pelosi has remained completely in control. Calm. Methodical. Strong.

Just before Rep. Cummings' state funeral at the Capitol yesterday, she pulled Joe and I into her office to show us a 53-year-old video of her brother defending the Catholic Church cardinal of Baltimore. He gave an impassioned plea to end segregation in the city’s restaurants and housing facilities. The cardinal had been booed loudly the night before for championing integration. Pelosi's brother was rightly outraged and came to his defense in a stirring speech.

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For this family, it has always been paramount to do what's right, even when it's hard. And this video further reminds Pelosi how far we've come — and how much work there still is to do.

Watching Pelosi this week was incredible. She moved swiftly between those moments with us, while also managing her big family that was on site for the funeral. She coordinated top Democrats and Republicans to make sure they knew their role in Cummings’ funeral – from where they would be standing, to how the day would take shape to remembering and honoring one of the most powerful and graceful members of Congress to ever walk those halls.

Pelosi didn’t skip a beat.

She’s used to constant chaos. She knows she’s in charge and the glue that holds it all together. She owns it, and you can see how everyone around her is better for it.

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The backdrop of all of this is of course the Trump impeachment inquiry. There’s a constant cascade of new information. Yet Pelosi has remained focused and disciplined, not an easy thing to do. Watching her, it’s so clear she’s got this.

Standing on her balcony, I thought about how much she has accomplished. She made history by becoming the first woman Speaker of the House. She also made history by assuming the role twice. She’s prepared, focused and unflappable.

She told me for my forthcoming book, “Comeback Careers: Rethink, Refresh, Reinvent Your Success at 40, 50, and Beyond” that “knowledge is power” and that knowledge is her value. She said what makes her a good legislator is ultimately clarity on how the law works, in addition to having a clear understanding of history and the foundation of this country.

Watching her also made me think of what a great week it has been for women. From the announcement by MSNBC that four women — Kristen Welker, Andrea Mitchell, Rachel Maddow and Ashley Parker — will moderate the November Democratic debate in Georgia, to a women's soccer team in Vermont making national headlines for refusing to back down from their fight for equal pay – there are so many women trailblazers.

We have them everywhere. And Pelosi is leading the charge. Let’s all follow her lead.