Transcript of Pelosi Interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe

October 22, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to discuss COVID relief talks and other news of the day.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks: 

Mika Brzezinski.  Speaker Pelosi joins us now.  Madam Speaker, thank you for being on.  Give us a sense as to exactly where these talks stand and what the hope is to get relief to the American people. 

Speaker Pelosi.  I'm happy to do that, Mika, but I want first to go back to what Jon Meacham said, skipping over what you just showed.  I don't think the President has any idea of what the truth is.  I think that he thinks the truth is what he says, so it's a sad situation.  But you go back to what Jon said, and Jon said how can 46 percent, or whatever it is, of the American people have thought that was okay for him to be President?

Let's talk about how we go – we heal as we go forward and be respectful of everyone in our country and how they voted, and Jon is always so inspirational.  So, I just wanted to say, I think the healing process has to begin well before the election.  We've tried to start that, and Joe Biden is just the best person to do that. 

But here's the thing that is really sad.  These people in our country, as I've traveled the country for years now, Speaker, Leader and whatever, they've always respected the Constitution of the United States, whether they agreed with you.  Democrats, Republicans, different point of view, the Constitution was essential.  Many of them took the oath to protect and defend it, and now all of a sudden the total disregard that he has for the Constitution seems to be okay with them.  That's sad. 

We have to bring people back to E Pluribus Unum, from many one.  Couldn't imagine – they couldn’t imagine how many we'd be or how different we'd be, but that we all had to – and for us to – I think in the press you could be helpful with this.  Let's not characterize them as not educated.  They are educated.  They're educated in winning our wars, raising our families, building our communities and the rest.  And I think that the respect that they are owed and the commitment that we share to the Constitution can be a place where we can come together. 

Now, there's some of them we will never get, and you know why.  It's no use my going into that, but I do think that as we look at what this President might do to undermine the election, the Constitution, the election, the environment, fairness, who we are as a people, denigrating newcomers and the rest has been so destructive.  It's no use dwelling on that.  We just have to go forward. 

And one of the ways we have to go forward is to crush this virus, which has a disproportionate impact on many poor people in our country, people of color and the rest.  And so to your question, yes, the Secretary and I continue our conversation.  We're about, pretty soon ready to put pen to paper.  We actually already are making certain proposals in that regard, because if we don't crush the virus, we're never going to be able to open our economy, our schools and everything safely. 

Finally, finally, and when I say finally, I mean in the last couple of days, the Administration has agreed to a strategic plan science-based, well-funded to take on the virus.  This has taken all these months, since February, and our bill since five months ago, March 14, but now we are – now we're at a place where they have finally, and again, only in the last few days.  But nonetheless, I see that it's progress.  We have other issues that we have to deal with, but we're on a good path. 

Joe Scarborough.  You've been traveling the country, as you said, for years as Leader, as Speaker, and I'm curious what your thoughts are about what Jon and I were talking about earlier as it pertains, again, to many of my friends, many of my loved ones, people that, family members that – and people who’d do anything for me still supporting Donald Trump thirteen days out when he is calling for the arrest of his political challenger, when he's asking his Attorney General to do that.  And I think you are right, we have to move forward and heal this country as Abraham Lincoln said in his second inaugural, ‘with malice towards none.’  But the question is, how did we get to this point where so many people can disregard the Constitution when a guy is talking, again, like an Eastern European totalitarian thug who wants to arrest his opponent less than two weeks before an election. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, you and I have people that we love who will vote for Donald Trump, and it's really hard to understand why.  I do think that we have opportunity.  I'd rather be looking forward.  I hope that the Republicans will take back their party, the Grand Old Party that has meant so much to our country, hijacked by this, I don't know, this phenomenon.  You have to give them credit for being a con artist to the nth degree. 

But, again, forgetting him and going forward because in twelve days – thirteen days we'll be on to our future.  I don't take anything for granted.  I feel confident, because we're working so very hard to make sure that that happens.  But again, to your point, again, how did we get here?  You and I can have that conversation. 

Listening to people and even now, virtually, they preferred him personally to the other person, sadly, for whatever reason.  Secondly, they didn't think he was going to win.  This is – we didn't think he was going to win, and we just make a protest vote.  We didn't think he was going to win.  Or third, I thought he'd be a decent president, I thought he'd rise to the occasion.  None – it didn’t work.  American – our country has paid a big price for this. 

But, again, looking forward, Republicans, how courageous so many of them are to come out for Joe Biden.  How strong some are who may be helpful in the transition, shall we say, and the – and then, again, we have to be talking to each other about how we go forward, and what better cause to get – well, it's a horrible cause, but what more important reason than to stop a pandemic and to stop it in a way that is fair. 

You know, one of the fights that we had with Republicans is they took out all of the language that addressed minorities in the bill.  Now, if you are a Black child, you are five times more likely to go to the hospital with COVID than a white child.  If you're an Hispanic child, you're eight times more likely to go to the hospital with COVID.  Again, more people have died – people of color have died than white people of it.  And that's because we did not make what we had to do in testing, tracing, treatment, mask wearing, sanitation, separation, and the rest of that, that science told us from the start would stop the spread of this.  And we have to, again, crush that and that's something that could bring us together when we have leadership in the White House instead of, ‘It's a hoax,’ and this, that.  

Now, again, you know and I know that when a president speaks, people listen.  They think he knows something, especially if they voted for him: ‘He must be right, right?  Or I’m wrong, I have bad judgment if he's not right,’ in terms of themselves.  They're protecting their own judgment that they made.  But again, when he speaks and says this, it's a comfort to know that this isn't spreading, you don't have to wear a mask or any of that.  But it's false.  And he's listening to voices that are almost on the verge of quackery in terms of how we address this. 

So, let's use that as something that unifies us.  And as we do so, this is one of my projects within this, is to make America's schools the safest places in our country for our children to learn.  Why shouldn't we?  It only takes money, and a lot less money than the President is giving in tax breaks in the CARES Act to the richest people in our country. 

Willie Geist.  Speaker Pelosi, it's Willie Geist.  Good to have you on this morning. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Hi, Willie.

Willie Geist.  As you talk about your negotiation with Secretary Mnuchin, I understand you all will be speaking again today to try to get a deal.  There was some indication from Mark Meadows and others that you might have a deal even by the end of the week.  Does that still sound right to you?  And what do you say to all those people who I know you hear from in your own district who are really suffering and aren't interested in the political fight but want to save their small business or their family and they need some money in their pocket as soon as possible? 

Speaker Pelosi.  I say help is on the way.  It will be better.  It will be bolder.  It will be safer.  And it will be retroactive.  But the fact is that, while we can't correct everything in one bill, we shouldn't be making matters worse.  And that's what the Republicans have been doing, making matters worse. 

So, in our legislation we're coming closer to what we must do: crush the virus; honor our heroes, our state and local governments, health care workers, transportation, sanitation, teachers, teachers, teachers, police and fire, first responders who make our system work.  And they risk their lives to save lives, and now they may lose their jobs.  You heard the President's irresponsible, really, stupid tweet that he did again – well, need I characterize his tweets?  That seems to be standard fare.  But the fact is that we have to do that if we're going to, if we're going to have the health care people, the teachers in place and the rest to get the job done.  And then, of course, to put money in the pockets of the American people. 

My view is the President has only wanted to be able to send out that check, but one check – one check is not the solution to this.  We have to have ongoing and that's one of the debates we're having right now, is Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, things to lift people out of poverty.  Six to eight – depending on the numbers you follow – million people have fallen into poverty, back into poverty as the CARES Act benefits wear off.  We have to restore that.  One check doesn't do it.  We’d rather – it's like I’m sending you a fish, instead of I’m setting you up to fish. 

Willie Geist.  You think there’ll be a deal before Election Day, Speaker Pelosi?  

Speaker Pelosi.  That would be my hope.  We could do it in the House.  You hear what the Leader in the Senate is saying, that's really up to the President.  We're negotiating with him.  We've made progress, and I have to say we've made progress in this regard, but we're still not there, but we can be.  We can be. 

And you know, it's – we know, our Members know how people are suffering.  We know who we represent, that’s what the fight is about.  You should see the fight we had to get food.  To get food, it was a fight.  So understand, we don't share values, so it's a harder discussion than usual.  But I’m still optimistic because I think both sides want to come to agreement.  Otherwise why would we even be talking to each other?  I mean, this is not, shall we say, an enjoyable conversation.  But in any event, it's necessary to have. 

Willie Geist.  Right. 

Mika Brzezinski.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, thank you so much, and thank you for being on the show this morning.