One Republican Senate candidate's kind words about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., could come back to haunt him on election day.
Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., is challenging Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' vacated seat in the upper chamber, which Strange was appointed to fill temporarily by the state's former governor.
Brooks was first elected to Congress in 2010. He made then-House Speaker Pelosi a target of frequent attacks on the campaign trail, leading chants of "Fire Pelosi" and repeatedly referring to her as a socialist. But just one day after winning his seat, Brooks was ready to cooperate with the San Francisco Democrat. "I look forward to working with you," Brooks said he would tell Pelosi when the two crossed paths.
Brooks reportedly also expressed respect for Pelosi's political accomplishments and career, asking, "How could you not respect her, even if you disagree with her?"
Pelosi is seen by an increasingly vocal portion of her own party as a political liability, enduring calls for her own resignation after Jon Ossoff lost a special election in Georgia earlier this summer. In late June, the Congressional Leadership Fund released a memorandum that outlined research on Pelosi's national unpopularity. "During the 2018 cycle, CLF will spend millions of dollars highlighting Nancy Pelosi's toxic agenda," the memo pledged.
With her profile raised among Republican voters, Brooks could face new questions about just how much he really respects Pelosi's political accomplishments from constituents with whom she is deeply unpopular. The congressman's quick swing from "Fire Pelosi" to "How could you not respect her?" within one day of winning an election certainly looks questionable to voters weary of insincere rhetoric from politicians.
Brooks is seen as the most pro-Trump candidate in the race, which is heating up with the primary just weeks away on Aug. 15.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.