Nancy Pelosi: the mayors daughter who worked her way to the political top

Nearly 3 million people watch online on Tuesday night how flight SPAR19 arrives in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. Not much later, American Nancy Pelosi, the President of the U.S. House of Representatives, walked out of the aircraft.

The 82-year-old Pelosi is the highest U.S. official to visit the island nation in more than 25 years. Images of the controversial visit go around the world. โ€œPlaying with fire,โ€ Chinese President Xi Jinping calls the visit.

This is not the first time that Pelosi has been diametrically opposed to China. And it‘s not the first time she’s been world news because of her sometimes controversial actions. According to some, the most powerful, according to others the most hated, woman in American politics: who is Nancy Pelosi?

Nancy Patricia D‘Alesandro was born on March 26, 1940 in Baltimore, where her father is mayor. In 1963, she married Paul Pelosi, and in six years the couple had five children. Pelosi becomes a housewife, but after a few years is also going to do some volunteer work for the Democratic Party. She appears to have a talent for fundraising, and decides that she also wants to go into politics herself.

From then on, her career has been going fast: Pelosi was elected to the Democratic National Committee in 1976, and in 1987 she was one of the few women to win a place in the House of Representatives, the American People’s Representation.

Criticism of China

Shortly after her arrival in Congress, Pelosi strongly criticized China. And she does not hide that criticism during a working visit to Beijing, in 1991.

In

the middle of Tian‘anmen Square, together with two congressmen, she brings out a banner saying: to those who died for democracy in China (for the people who died for democracy in China), referring to the 3,000 people who died two years earlier. at a student protest in the square.

China is not happy with the action, and the soldiers who are there are doing everything to ensure that the event is not filmed. The CNN TV crew that is there even gets locked up for a few hours.

Bush Veto

Pelosi is also very supportive of a law that would allow thousands of Chinese students to stay in the US after their visas expired, to avoid possible prosecution if they returned to China.

George W. Bush, the then-president, vetoed the law. But Pelosi manages to get enough Democratic and Republican votes to bypass the veto. Her criticism of Bush is fierce anyway: that’s how she once calls him an โ€œincompetent leaderโ€.

In 2003, Pelosi was the first woman to be elected President of the House of Representatives. She becomes one of the most outspoken opponents of the American invasion of Iraq, the war that significantly reduces President Bush‘s image. As a result, Democrats win the majority in the House of Representatives for the first time in twelve years in 2006. Four years later, the Democrats still lose their majority in the House.

Popularity drops

After Democratic President Barack Obama took office in 2009, Pelosi regularly plays a major role in enacting important laws. For example, at Obamacare, the law that stipulated that all Americans had to have health insurance from 2014 onwards.

But the politician is also often negative in the news. When it is discovered that the CIA used the torture technique waterboarding in 2009 while interrogating terrorism suspects, Pelosi says he knows nothing about it. But CIA documents show that’s not true. A few months later, she admits it herself.

In 2010, Pelosi was relegated to minority leader of the House of Representatives if Republicans regain the majority of the House. Two years later, it changed penny again and Pelosi regains her place as chairman. Her battle with then-President Donald Trump is growing there, with the most talked-about moment Pelosi tearing up an important Trump speech live on television.

During Trump‘s presidency, Democrats lose several congressmen in elections, resulting in an even larger minority. That makes it difficult for Pelosi to get bills from new President Joe Biden through Congress.

Nevertheless, in the first two years of his presidency, he managed to adopt a corona support package, a spending package for better infrastructure, a trillion-dollar environmental program and legislation to protect same-sex marriage.

Criticism of Wealth

And then there is her wealth. In 2018, Pelosi is the sixth richest congressman, which is why she receives a lot of criticism. She and her husband are regularly accused of insider trading.

From a Fox News reportand Bloomberg shows that Paul Pelosi bought high-risk shares from Google, Apple and other tech companies in February 2020, just before the market introduced the House of Representatives laws regulating those companies.

The now 82-year-old Pelosi, leader of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives for twenty years, has previously said that she will quit after 2022. In 2018, Pelosi agreed to term limits for the top three leadership positions in the House, after which she promised to abide by the term limits – even if the measure would ultimately not be passed. If she actually adheres to this, this will be her last year as group leader and chairman.

Whether Pelosi’s trip through Asia is a kind of farewell tour of her career, no one knows for sure. What is certain is that the most powerful woman in American politics leaves quite an impression.