Transcript of Pelosi Interview on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports to discuss the passage of House Democrats’ updated Heroes Act, COVID relief talks and other news of the day. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Andrea Mitchell. Joining me now is the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Madam Speaker, thank you very much for being with us. The last time you were on the show, Madam Speaker, you were very optimistic about something being done before the election. That certainly is no longer the case. The Treasury Secretary is blaming you for all the private negotiations going public. The Washington Post is saying that you and Mnuchin were once Washington's odd couple but that your relationship has flamed out. Is this a flamed-out relationship?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, it doesn't matter what our relationship is. It matters what the truth is, and the truth is that this Administration has failed miserably in responding to this virus. In fact today, our Select Committee on the Coronavirus put out a report, Inefficient, Ineffective, Inequitable: The Trump Administration's Failed Response to the Coronavirus Crisis.
We had given the Administration plenty of time to come back with answers as to how they would deal with honoring our heroes. You just paid tribute to the heroes who are there in health care. Many of them are part of state and local facilities to minister to needs of people with coronavirus. Honor our heroes. They risk their lives to save lives, and now many of them will lose their jobs. Why? Because the President does not want to recognize that state and local government is playing a very big role in ministering to the needs of those who are sick as well as the revenue they have lost because of the coronavirus.
They have also – keep saying – more than two weeks ago the Secretary said they were going to agree to our language on testing. Finally, they were going to agree to our language on testing, but they haven't yet.
So, let's not get involved in what this is – what the Secretary did say in his letter that I think should be pointed out is that we should be grateful, we should be thanking them rather than criticizing them for more. Thank you for nearly 250,000 people dying from the coronavirus? Thank you for just over 9 – maybe just over 9 million people infected by it, tens of millions, as you mentioned, going on Unemployment Insurance, 8 million people slipping into poverty because of the coronavirus, 17 million children food insecure, millions of their families on the verge of eviction and not honoring our state and local? Not crushing the virus. Not crushing the virus. And they want us to say thank you.
So, let's just be calm. Let's just understand this election is very important. We will insist upon the truth. We will insist upon the truth, and that is that we must allocate the resources in a way that honors our heroes. You just demonstrated why we should: crush the virus, put money in the pockets of the American people and be able to open up our schools and open our economy because we have followed the science. Testing, tracing, treatment, mask – mask-wearing, sanitation, separation and the rest. And also in a way that recognizes that overwhelmingly this virus is affecting communities of color in our country.
So, again, we're not going to make matters worse by agreeing to something where they say, ‘Well, we don't want to do the Earned Income Tax Credit, but we will give $150 billion to the wealthiest people in America, having nothing to do with the coronavirus and retroactive to years before the coronavirus.’
So, we have a major difference of opinion. I was hoping that we could reconcile them. I still am hopeful that we will. But it won't begin by us thanking the Administration for what they have done, as they have claimed incredible progress, incredible progress.
We must insist upon the truth and make policy that allocates the resources in a way that is effective and not just give money to the President to spend any way he may desire, but not to solve the problem.
Andrea Mitchell. Madam Speaker, the President claims that there will be a deal immediately after the election and Mitch McConnell has said that it would be at the start of the new year. Which is it? Do you think there can be a deal actually in a lame-duck session of Congress?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, it depends on how much of a rehabilitation tour the Republicans want to take. They know what they are doing is wrong. They are trying to make it look as if they're trying to get something done. I would have hoped that we could have done it before the election. Why? Because people are suffering, and they need help. We know that very well because we represent those people, especially those in the most dire of straits.
We also have important work to do after the first of the year. So, to the extent that we can address some of this now, we'll have more to do later, but nonetheless, we want to, again, come to the needs – help the neediest.
Now, it's interesting, the economists, some former Treasury secretaries and the rest say, if you want to help, help the neediest first, because putting money in their pockets is stimulus to the economy. It helps inject demand into the economy, create jobs and that's good for the economy, rather than some kind of trickle-down effect by giving money to the wealthiest.
So, we are coming at this from two different places: trickle-down, bubble-up. Meet the needs of the people versus putting more money in the pockets of the wealthiest in our country. And that is the big difference between Democrats and Republicans, and that is what is at stake in this election. So, we're not going to make matters worse so that somebody can say, ‘Oh, they came to an agreement; isn't that right?’ No, we have to do what is right.
So, to your question, I would hope that, again, on the rehabilitation tour, that they may want to do something. The sooner, the better. Certainly, we'll have something at the start of the new presidency, but we don't want to have to wait that long, because people have needs.
And they’re – many of them are embarrassed and they don't want to – they know they're going home. They know they're going home. Now they'll go home having said, ‘Why don't we just help business while letting other people starve?’ And we want to help everyone.
They see what's happening to the market. The market is acting upon the spread of the virus, which could have been prevented and can be curved. The market is reacting to the fact that we don't have an agreement, which we can, which we can, except they do not want to start with those who need it the most.
Andrea Mitchell. And I didn't mean to interrupt, but you sounded – you were sounding very optimistic about the election. You’re talking about a new president.
Speaker Pelosi. Yes.
Andrea Mitchell. How confident are you of even getting a fair count? Now you've got a Federal Appeals Court not letting Minnesota count ballots after Election Day. But our own study found a very suspicious coincidence between letter service, letter delivery, and the big cities where there are large minority voters. So, how confident are you that the mail-in ballots will be counted, you'll get a full count and have a fair election?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, we have to. And again, they have poisoned the well in so many ways: dismantling the postal service, trying to slow down the mail and the rest, not putting resources, as we have asked for in any package of significance that would help facilitate voting in-person. They have no respect for the fact that so many people are standing in line for hours because they want to honor their sacred right to vote. And yet, they won't allocate more resources for more voting places in a safe way for people to vote, dismantle the system of the mail coming in quicker. Also, just as you see in Texas, having one place in a gigantic county with more people than many states, having one place to drop off the ballot in terms of the official drop-off of the ballot. So, they're trying to put up barriers to participation.
We don't agonize, we organize. And by the way, their barriers that they're putting for counting votes if they’re received after the election but postmarked before, on Election Day, had an impact on our military votes coming in. How the votes are counted varies from one state to the next, but they all accommodate our overseas military ballots coming in, and there are some real serious questions that have arisen as to how they will also neglect the respect we should have for our military voters, some of which are coming, many of which are coming from overseas.
But confident? Well, I’m confident because –
Andrea Mitchell. Madam Speaker –
Speaker Pelosi. I’m sorry. Because nine million people have already voted in Texas. That's more than voted all together [in 2016]. So, all around the country you see this enthusiasm. We feel very confident.
I know that we will win the House and increase our numbers, even though the President is saying the Republicans are going to win the House. So delusional, but delusional in many respects. We have a good chance to win the Senate. Again, it's all about turnout. But I have every confidence that on January 20th, Joe Biden will be inaugurated the President of the United States. But we don't assume anything. I’m confident because we're doing the work. We've been down this path before, and that's not going to happen again
Andrea Mitchell. Regarding COVID, very briefly, the President continues to hold these packed rallies in states with big surges in cases. He's in the Midwest today. Don Jr. said last night, referring to the death rate, ‘The number is almost nothing.’ Your response to that?
Speaker Pelosi. I’m just thinking of the families in our country who have lost their loved ones. I’m thinking of the families in our country who have been affected by the coronavirus and how they may have – be long haulers; they may have serious pre-existing conditions for a long time to come. It may be almost nothing to him, but it is everything to the families who have lost a loved one.
But it just shows you why we're having this fight about the negotiation. They have no respect for those who are in need, whether it's in need of care, whether it's in need of sympathy, whether it's in need of money, whether it's in need of their jobs that we're trying to protect with our state and local government, to protect our health care workers, our police and fire, our first responders, our health – I said health – our teachers, our teachers, our teachers, sanitation, transportation, food workers. These are the people who make things happen in our country.
So, their disregard for that, I don't even want to go to – I don't even want to go to Donald Jr.’s statement. It's so outside the circle of respectability for the office that his father holds and the respect that all American people are worthy of, especially those who have lost their loved ones.
Andrea Mitchell. Madam Speaker, thank you for being with us today.
Speaker Pelosi. Remember, we don't agonize, we organize, and we're going to win on Tuesday. But people should get in their vote. Don't mail it, take in your vote. Make it count. Thank you.
Andrea Mitchell. An important message. Thank you very much.