“Time’s up,” Ms. Tlaib declared happily on Tuesday, after Ms. Pelosi’s announcement, adding, “I guess it took this major action, a criminal action by the president, for a lot of my colleagues to understand. We’re moving forward and I’m very pleased.”
Veteran Democrats agree that, as a class, the freshmen have outsized power — in part because there are so many of them. Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, chairman of the House Rules Committee, said that when he was a freshman, nobody paid attention to him.
“When they speak,” Mr. McGovern said, “everybody listens.”
Ms. Pelosi meets monthly with the freshmen as a class, and meets with smaller groups as various issues crop up. She spoke with the seven national security lawmakers on Monday at about 5 p.m., several hours before their opinion piece posted. Representative Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, one of the authors, said Ms. Pelosi was not told about the op-ed until it was “already in the hands” of editors at The Post.
But the speaker was pleased to have it, those close to her say, and she was spotted reading it Tuesday morning on a plane from New York to Washington. The freshmen were short, and to the point, and hinted at their past reluctance, declaring, “We do not arrive at this conclusion lightly.”
The op-ed, coupled with the other statements, caught other, more veteran Democrats by surprise. Representative Mark Takano of California, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said he was especially caught off guard when he saw that Representative Elaine Luria, a low-profile Democrat from Virginia, was one of the authors.
“Elaine’s from a very tough district,” Mr. Takano said. “My reaction when I heard Elaine had done that was, ‘Oh my god, wow, this is really a watershed moment.’ ”