Transcript of Pelosi Interview on MSNBC's The ReidOut with Joy Reid

October 19, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Joy Reid on MSNBC's The ReidOut to discuss COVID relief talks and other news of the day.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks: 

Joy Reid.  Speaker of the House spent the day negotiating a larger relief package with the Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, and joins me now.  Madam Speaker, thank you for being here. 

This dichotomy between what Donald Trump is doing, you know, threatening to go, sort of, full Mobutu and try to lock up anybody he doesn't like politically and dancing around on stage, as if COVID-19 doesn't exist and goofing around and pretending he's just sort of at summer camp, and this crisis.   We all at this point – something like 29 percent of African Americans know somebody who died of COVID-19.  I know somebody who’s died of COVID-19.  Why doesn't that seem to resonate inside that briefing room?  When you’re talking to Steve Mnuchin, does he get that?  Do you think he understands what's happening? 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, negotiating with him is what we're trying to do to get something accomplished.  But the fact is – you’ve described it very well – from the start, the President has never taken this seriously, and neither has Mitch McConnell.  I don’t know If you saw him in the debate the other night, when it was asked, when he was asked what is he doing to help with this – with the resolution of this challenge, with the COVID-19 and the economic – he laughed.  He laughed.  He laughed.  They’ve never taken it seriously.  ‘Let the states go bankrupt.  Let's take a pause.’  The President from the – the ‘hoax.’

So, now, at last, finally, they have come to the table and we're going to try to get something done.  And I’ve tried to make a tomorrow a time where we would exchange all of our differences of opinion, so that we can – and numbers and paper – so that we can see.  Let's make a judgment.  We may not like this or we may not like that, but let's see, on balance, if we can go forward.  Every time we think we're close, then they a setback.  So, we'll see what tomorrow will bring. 

But it's really sad, because 8 million people infected, 220,000 people dead.  Many of them, much of that could have been prevented.  But If we don't solve the problem, which is the virus, we'll all going to continue and continue to be dealing with the consequences of it, which are attacking the lives, livelihood and the life of the democracy. 

Joy Reid.  Let me just go – just to show the audience what the differences have been.  The Senate Republicans, they’re calling this the ‘skinny’ relief packages.  They want to give $300 a week in federal unemployment, instead of $600 a week that was offered by the Heroes Act.  They have a little bit of money there for testing, they have some stuff for farmers, they have some other things.  It doesn't include any additional money for state and local spending and no stimulus checks, no more stimulus checks. 

Whereas the House bill, that already passed – and we should note that y’all already did your job – $1,200 stimulus checks, which people really need, $600 unemployment, the PPP for small businesses, $4 billion for housing assistance, $5 billion for homelessness assistance, food assistance, worker protections.  It just goes on and on.  What is going to be in the bill that you all get together?  Because that's a big difference between what you wanted. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, it's a big difference, because we have different values.  We don't have shared values.  We believe and we are told by economists and the rest that it is the right thing, not only the right thing to do, but the best thing to do for our economy is for us to help the neediest first, to help the neediest first.  And so, now, we finally, in the last 24 hours, have come to a place where they are willing to address the crisis, the coronavirus, to crush the virus.  What they had done over the weekend was take out the language that addressed the disparity and how it affects the Black community, the Asian Pacific community, the Hispanic community, the Native American community.  Can you imagine that? 

Joy Reid.  They took that out? 

Speaker Pelosi.  A child who is Hispanic is eight times more times likely to go to the hospital for COVID-19 than a white child, an African American child, five times more likely. 

So, anyway, we have made progress in that, because of the public view of it.  They came back, and they are agreeing to that.  Now, they’re not agreeing to all the language yet.  But that’s that.  But we have different values, and therefore it's a longer road back for them to do the right thing. 

Joy Reid.  Let me ask you about Mitch McConnell.  I understand that you're negotiating with Mnuchin.  He has to then deal – Mitch McConnell has to then deal both with Senator Schumer but also with the White House.  Do you trust him to ever make a deal?  There's a lot of reporting.  Paul Krugman has written a piece that I think has compelled a lot of people.  Other people have written it that really what Republicans want is to either hand Joe Biden a weaker economy or to put themselves in a position to go to full austerity if in fact Joe Biden is elected.  And then say, ‘Oh we need fiscal austerity.  We’re not going to do anything.’  And that they would actually prefer to have no bill and that Republicans have an attitude that they don't want any bill.  He's out there calling you Marie Antoinette when he’s the one who won’t do a bill.  Do you trust that no matter what you do and what you negotiate that he'll ever put a bill on the Floor?

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, what he said on Saturday – they say different things.  But what he said Saturday was if in fact the Senate, excuse me Secretary Mnuchin and the House Democrats come to agreement, that they would put it on the Floor.  He said that – or consider putting it on the Floor.  The President said yesterday – I don't know if you saw his statement.  He said, ‘I want to do more than Nancy.  And If she agrees with my number, I’m sure I can convince the Republicans in the Senate.’

But you know what, you talk about what they want to do to sabotage this, that and the other thing.  The antidote to all their poison is just to vote.  We have got to heal our country.  We have got to heal, crush this virus to heal physically our country.  We have got to heal all the injustices in their bills; whether it’s talking about what they don't want to do for schools that especially affect some of our lower income children; what they don't want to do for child care, which enables people to go to work; what they don't want to do for Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit for the poorest working, working families in our country; what they don't want to do for state and local, which meet the needs of all our people. 

We'll fight that fight, but we have to heal.  Joe Biden is a great healer.  He will bring us together.  He will unify us.  I’m sitting – welcome to the Speaker’s Office.  I'm sitting in front of Lincoln here.  ‘Public sentiment is everything,’ he said.  And that public sentiment of wanting to come together I think will prevail. 

Joy Reid.  Speaker Nancy Pelosi, always great to have you on.  Thank you so much for some of your time this even, really appreciate it. 

Speaker Pelosi.  My pleasure.  Thank you, Joy.  Thank you so much.