By Mike Lillis - 06/19/14 02:31 PM EDT
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she prays for Republicans, at minimum, once a week.
The California Democrat revealed the ritual while offering newfound sympathy to Rep. Eric CantorEric CantorJohn Feehery: GOP: Listen to Reince The Trail 2016: Dems struggle for unity Overnight Regulation: Supreme Court rejects GOP redistricting challenge MORE (R-Va.), the once-rising GOP star whose primary loss last week forced him to resign as majority leader.
The spiritual influence evidently had an effect on the Democratic leader as it relates to Cantor's surprise downfall. Last week, Pelosi comments about the Republican leader's loss were markedly more tongue-in-cheek.
"I have as much sympathy for Mr. Cantor as he would want me to have for him," she said, triggering laughter from the assembled reporters.
On Thursday, she offered a more compassionate message.
"If I had any sympathy about what happened last week, it wasn't so much about toppling a leader. ... It was really about how sad it must be to lose in your own district. For that, I have sympathy for Mr. Cantor, because that's hard," Pelosi said.
"Power comes and goes here, but the connection you have to your district is such a deeply rooted thing," she added. "I feel sad for him in that regard."
The election to replace Cantor as majority leader is being held Thursday, with Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) vying for the spot. Cantor will step down from the position at the end of July.