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Leading House Democrat Calls on Pelosi to Step Down

Rep. Linda Sanchez took a jab at Democratic leaders and called on Nancy Pelosi and two other top House leaders to step down.
Image: Democratic Caucus Vice Chairwoman Linda Sanchez
Democratic Caucus Vice Chairwoman Linda Sanchez (R), with Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley (L), speaks during a press conference after a closed caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington DC on Sept. 13, 2017.Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images file

A high-ranking House Democrat on Thursday called on Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California to step down as minority leader to make way for a new generation.

"Our leadership does a tremendous job," said Rep. Linda Sanchez of California, "but I do think we have this real breadth and depth of talent within our caucus, and I do think it's time to pass the torch to a new generation of leaders, and I want to be a part of that transition. I want to see that happen."

Sanchez, the fifth-ranking Democrat in the House, was interviewed on C-SPAN by two reporters who asked her about the current makeup of Democratic leadership.

Sanchez specifically called out Pelosi; the House minority whip, Steny Hoyer of Maryland; and the assistant House minority leader, James Clyburn of South Carolina, when asked who should leave their leadership positions.

"I don’t think there is one leader of the Democratic Party. I think there are many people who try to move the country in the right direction," Sanchez said. "We have too many great leaders here that don’t always get the opportunities that they should, and I would like to see that change."

The full interview will air on C-SPAN on Sunday.

Pelosi has enjoyed a 15-year grasp on power leading the Democrats and has served in the House since 1987. She served as the speaker from 2007-11.

Hoyer, the second-ranking Democrat, has served since 1981 and has had stints as majority leader and minority whip. Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House, has served since 1993 and previously served as the majority whip.

Drew Hammill, deputy chief of staff for Pelosi, shot back at Sanchez.

"Leader Pelosi enjoys wide support in the caucus and has always said she not in Congress on a shift but on a mission," Hammill said. "Pelosi is focused on winning back the House and anything else is a distraction from our path to the majority.”

Hoyer, in a statement, played down the comment and praised Sanchez and said Democrats were "laser-focused" on taking back the House from the GOP next year.

"Rep. Sanchez is an outstanding vice chair of the caucus, and I agree with her that we have talented leaders throughout our caucus," he said. "I remain laser-focused on taking back the House, a goal all House Democrats share and are working tirelessly toward."