WASHINGTON, D.C. — Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has accused the new interim speaker, Patrick McHenry, of instructing her to vacate her workspace in the U.S. Capitol building shortly after the unexpected change in leadership.
In a statement provided to NPR, Pelosi, a Democrat from California, revealed that she was asked to leave her office “immediately.” She expressed her concern regarding the timing of this directive, given the significant decisions that the new Republican leadership is expected to address.
“With all of the important decisions that the new Republican Leadership must address, which we are all eagerly awaiting, one of the first actions taken by the new Speaker Pro Tempore was to order me to immediately vacate my office in the Capitol,” Pelosi stated, referring to McHenry, a Republican from North Carolina, by his new formal title.
NPR obtained a copy of an email sent to Pelosi’s staff at 6:11 pm on Tuesday, requesting that they remove their belongings by Wednesday. The email stated, “The Speaker pro tempore is going to re-assign H-132 for speaker office use. Please vacate the space tomorrow; the room will be re-keyed.”
While most members of the House have regular offices in the Cannon House Building near the Capitol, Pelosi, as a former speaker, also has access to a hideaway space within the Capitol itself.
Pelosi criticized this eviction as a departure from tradition, citing her past actions as Speaker when she provided former Speaker Dennis Hastert, a Republican from Illinois who served from 1999 to 2007, with a significantly larger suite of offices for as long as he desired.
However, Pelosi pointed out that she would be unable to relocate her belongings from the space promptly since she was not present in Washington, D.C. She explained her absence by noting her return to California to pay tribute to the late Senator Diane Feinstein, who passed away last week.
Feinstein is scheduled to lie in state at San Francisco City Hall on Wednesday, with funeral services scheduled for Thursday.
Pelosi emphasized that the office space, while significant to the Republican leadership, holds less importance for her. She urged the new Republican leadership to focus on matters of greater importance to the American people now that this issue has been resolved.
NPR contacted McHenry’s office for a response but had not received a reply at the time of publication. McHenry assumed the role of speaker pro tempore on Tuesday following a vote in which eight Republicans sided with House Democrats to oust Kevin McCarthy.