House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) defended remarks, that were caught on tape and released by The Intercept this week, of him encouraging a progressive candidate to drop out of a Democratic primary in Colorado because the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee preferred another candidate.
“[W]hat is really important from our perspective is making sure that we have a Democrat that can win in districts that are tough,” Hoyer said Friday. “So we work towards that end.”
“Leadership requires trying to make recommendations that you think will be the most effective,” Hoyer added. “So I don’t think we’re dissuaded from that.”
“I understand the locals are going to make the decision,” Hoyer acknowledged. “But it would be foolish if asked, and in terms of trying to have a working majority so that we can change policies, to not try to put ourselves in the strongest position to be in that place.”
“It’s not a concern about a particular Democrat, it’s about having a Democrat in the final two who we really think is viable,” he emphasized.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also defended Hoyer’s comments at her press briefing Thursday.
“I don’t see anything inappropriate in what Mr. Hoyer was engaged in conversation about,” Pelosi said.“If the realities of life is that some candidates can do better in the general than others, then that’s a clear-eyed conversation that we should be having.”