In what seems like an assertive power play by the new leadership in the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the former Speaker of the House, was directed to vacate her private Capitol hideaway. This directive was the inaugural move by the interim House Speaker, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), just hours into his newfound authority.
Pelosi was apprised of the eviction through an email. The message, as reported by multiple sources, stated, “Please vacate the space tomorrow, the room will be re-keyed.” It further specified the reason behind the eviction, indicating that the office would be reallocated “for speaker office use.”
Acting Speaker Rep. Patrick McHenry has just ordered the eviction of Nancy Pelosi from her nice office in the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/mIa18orBkP
— Dr. Benjamin Braddock (@GraduatedBen) October 4, 2023
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was removed earlier Tuesday afternoon from his position as the Speaker of the House, a surprising turn of events given it was the first occurrence of a sitting Speaker being ousted in American history. After the vote, McHenry, known to be closely allied with McCarthy, assumed the role temporarily.
This rapid transition in the House’s leadership and McHenry’s swift move against Pelosi has generated significant discourse. Notably, Pelosi responded critically to her eviction, stating, “This eviction is a sharp departure from tradition.” She recalled how, during her tenure as Speaker, she had generously provided former Speaker Hastert with an extensive suite of offices “for as long as he wished.”
According to Politico, McHenry's first act as Speaker was to order Pelosi to vacate her old office. I take this to mean that McCarthy allowed her to keep the office despite her no longer being Speaker. That in itself shows that McCarthy should've never been Speaker to begin with. pic.twitter.com/bfVl8OVQoG
— Hans Mahncke (@HansMahncke) October 4, 2023
Such events beg the question — of why the private office issue was placed at the forefront of House matters – especially considering the many pressing national problems that demand immediate attention. Even Pelosi highlighted this anomaly, urging the new Republican Leadership to “get back to work on what’s truly important for the American people.”
Furthermore, Pelosi found herself in an awkward position. The eviction occurred when she was in California, attending the funeral of the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Addressing this, Pelosi remarked, “Sadly, because I am in California to mourn the loss of and pay tribute to my dear friend Dianne Feinstein, I am unable to retrieve my belongings at this time.” To assist with the transition, the staff of House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) was seen Tuesday evening helping move Pelosi’s possessions out of her former office space.
However, there’s another angle to this narrative. With Kevin McCarthy’s recent removal from the speakership — a significant event in its own right — a major reshuffling in the House’s power dynamics is underway. Eight House Republicans, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), voted alongside the House Democrats to remove McCarthy.
With McHenry also dismissing the House membership until next Tuesday, the drama of how the leadership position atop the House will be filled will not be resolved immediately.