In the draft of the letter, the members say that they were “victimized by a national wave of resentment toward Democrats, a wave that ensnared you along with us.”

The letter goes on to say “Madam Speaker, fairly or unfairly, Republicans made you the face of the resentment and disagreement in our races. While we commend your years of service to our party and your leadership through many tough times, we respectfully ask that you step aside as the top Democrat in the House.”

The letter says that the defeated members “fear that Republicans will further demonize you, and in so doing, they will scare potential candidates out. The prospect of having to run against their own party leadership, in addition to their Republican opponent is simply too daunting.”