Fact Check: Nancy Pelosi Is STILL Speaker of the House -- Viral Video Only Shows 'Pro Tempore' Announcement

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fact Check: Nancy Pelosi Is STILL Speaker of the House -- Viral Video Only Shows 'Pro Tempore' Announcement Still Speaker

Is Nancy Pelosi no longer Speaker of the House as the caption below a video claims? No, that's not true: Nancy Pelosi is still Speaker despite what the caption says below a viral Facebook video. The footage shows the opening of Pro Forma session of the House of Representatives on January 11, 2021 where a resolution was adopted asking Vice President Pence to consider using the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office. At the opening of the session a letter from Speaker Pelosi is read out appointing Rep. Deborah Dingell as "Speaker pro tempore" for this session, which is a temporary assignment and part of normal House procedures.

The claim appeared in a a Facebook post (archived here) published on January 11, 2021 that showed a clip of the House session with a caption below it that read:

Pelosi is no longer the speaker of the House - 1/11/21

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Jan 12 09:37:29 2021 UTC)

The full session can be viewed in this C-SPAN clip:

C-SPAN describes the video as:

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) asked the House to consider a resolution calling on Vice President Pence to enact the 25th Amendment and remove President Trump from office. Representative Alex Mooney (R-WV) objected, blocking the request. The resignation of House Sergeant at Arms, Paul Irving, was also accepted. Timothy Blodgett was sworn in as the new Sergeant at Arms.

According to the transcript at the beginning following letter from Speaker Pelosi is read out:

THE SPEAKER'S ROOMS, WASHINGTON, D.C. JANUARY 11, 2021. I HEREBY APPOINT THE HONORABLE DEBBIE DINGELL TO ACT AS SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE ON THIS DAY. SIGNED, NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

One should note that position of "Speaker pro tempore" is temporary and does not imply resignation of the Speaker according to Chapter 34 of the House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents and Procedures of the House:

Sec. 6 . The Speaker Pro Tempore

Appointment or Election

The Speaker may appoint a Speaker pro tempore. Such an appointment
may not exceed three legislative days, except that in the case of
illness the Speaker's appointment may extend to 10 days with the
approval of the House. Rule I clause 8. For longer periods, a Speaker
pro tempore is elected by the House. Manual Sec. 632. A Member
sometimes is designated Speaker pro tempore by the Speaker and
subsequently elected by the House. Deschler Ch 6 Sec. 12.76. If the
Speaker appoints a Speaker pro tempore only for purposes of signing
enrolled bills and joint resolutions, such an appointment may extend
for a ``specified period of time'' with the approval of the House.
Rule I clause 8. The Speaker may appoint two alternate Members to sign
enrolled bills. Manual Sec. 634. Under rule I clause 8(b)(3), adopted
in the 108th Congress, the Speaker is required to deliver to the Clerk
a list of Members in the order in which each shall act as Speaker pro
tempore in the case of a vacancy in the Office of Speaker.
A Speaker pro tempore is elected pursuant to resolution. Deschler
Ch 6 Sec. 14.1. The resolution may be offered by the chairman of the
majority party caucus or by the Majority Leader. Deschler Ch 6
Sec. 14. A Speaker pro tempore by designation leaves the Chair pending
the offering of a resolution electing him as Speaker pro tempore.
Deschler Ch 6 Sec. Sec. 11.7, 14.1.

An appointment as "Speaker pro tempore" happens many, many times during House proceedings, as you can verify for yourself by looking at this list from the 116th Congress, 1st session.

Pelosi was elected Speaker of the House for the 117th Congress in early January 2021.

This fact check is available at IFCN's 2020 US Elections #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.


  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

Different viewpoints

Note: if reading this fact check makes you want to contact us to complain about bias, please check out our Red feed first.

About us

International Fact-Checking Organization

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Follow us on social media

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion