Pelosi Remarks at Media Availability Following Visit to San Francisco’s Chinatown and Meetings with Local Business Owners

February 24, 2020
Press Release

San Francisco – Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a media availability at the Dim Sum Corner Restaurant following a meeting with local business owners in San Francisco’s Chinatown.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Good afternoon, everyone.  I’m so glad to see so many of you in Chinatown today.

For me, it’s like a homecoming because we have so many relationships over the years, starting when I – the very first event I ever had running for Congress.  Thirty-three years ago, at the beginning of February, it was put on in Chinatown by Florence Fang and her husband, John Fang, her late husband, who I love – and they introduced me to the community through their eyes and we’ve been friends ever since.

Whether it’s issues that relate to health care, the Chinese Hospital; issues that relate to Hepatitis B, Florence’s son, Ted, has been a champion on that issue; whether it’s about the vitality that Chinatown brings to our community.  I feel very proud when I come home.  I feel sad for my colleagues who do not experience the same vitality in their communities.

I’m here today, particularly, to say thank you to the community for the sense of family values and sense of community that they provide.  

But also to say to everyone: we should come to Chinatown.  Precautions have been taken by our city.  We know that there is concern surrounding tourism, traveling all throughout the world, but we think it’s very safe to be in Chinatown and hope that others will come. 

It’s lovely here.  The food is delicious, the shops are prospering, the parade was great.  Walking tours continue.  Please come and visit and enjoy Chinatown.

Q:  Madam Speaker, is the federal government doing enough to control this virus and to get out this kind of message?  

Speaker Pelosi.  I certainly hope so.  I have confidence in Dr. Fauci at the National Institutes of Health, who has even further confidence in what we’re doing.  I do have concern that the President’s budget cut nineteen percent of the Center for Disease Control.  I don’t – and that’s the agency of prevention, so I’m [not] happy about that.  We’ll fight that cut.   

Q:  Speaker Pelosi, the President’s Administration is said to be about to request one billion dollars in spending to help fight the Coronavirus –

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, we’ll see.  They just cut $1.3 – something like that – billion out of the Centers for Disease Control.  So, I don’t know if that’s enough, but let’s see what the focus is.  Prevention, prevention, prevention.  We want people to be concerned and vigilant.  However, we don’t want them to be afraid.

Q:  Madam Speaker, how irrational is it that people are staying away from Asian-owned business – not only here, but all over the U.S.?

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, that’s one of the reasons we are here today.  It doesn’t make any sense, but it’s not just Asian-owned now.  You see in Italy where the shows – the fashion shows and all of that were done without an audience because people – they just didn’t – because people were not coming.  So, again, this fear is – I think – unwarranted in light of the precautions that are being taken here in the United States.  I can’t speak for any other country.

It is sad that what’s happening in South Korea, what’s happening in China has an impact on the economy, but first and foremost, we care about the people.  And we pray, as I started the day at the temple to pray for the people in China and the rest of the world who have been affected by the Coronavirus and again, pray for the people here.  But it is, again – this is a community of vitality that always looks out for the safety of the people who come here.  So, they’re used to that, because were an urban center.

Let me say that, at the temple this morning, and I was told that it was established in 1852.  And after the earthquake, it was established where it is in 1910.  It was popular when the Chinese that came here and their families were going to follow, they went to that temple to pray for the safety of the new Chinese immigrants coming to America.  So, it was about faith, it was about family and, again, it was about the revitalization of America that our Chinese-American community brings to us.  

It’s also, again, about family and commerce.  When you talk to people here – Florence was telling me that when she first came, the people in the Wok Shop were the ones that gave her a hand.  Norman is telling me that, when we were in the bazaar, that that family helped his family and his family helped them.

So, again, the immigration community is about family.  It is about small business and big business.  It’s about not only making out communities better, but our economy’s thrive.

So, that’s why we want people to come to Chinatown.  Don’t be afraid.  Enjoy it all.  It’s beautiful and there are some good bargains here now, so it’s a good time to come. 

Q:  When I talked to Kevin at the Golden Gate Cookie Factory, he said he thought it was racism that was keeping people out of Chinatown because they thought all Chinese people are potential carriers?

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, I can’t – I don’t know that.  I wasn’t in that conversation.  But, I do think that because it started in China, there’s a concern that are the – is the Chinese government doing what it needed to do early enough, and now as we go forward.  But that should not be carried over to Chinatown and San Francisco.  I hope that it’s not that.

But, all I can say is that I’m here.  We feel safe and sound, so many of us, coming here to not only say that it’s safe, but to say thank you for being Chinatown.  Thank you.

Q:  And did the people you met today tell you how badly their businesses have been affected here?

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, we’d been hearing that before the visit, and that’s why I thought it was urgent to make the visit.

But, I come here quite a bit.  We’re a big dim sum family.  And, part of our Thanksgiving celebration is always to have dim sum.  That’s really important to it.  So, I feel very at home here.

Thank you all very much.

Q:  About the presidential race, do you think that if Bernie Sanders is nominated that’s going to hurt the House – your chances in the House?

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, let’s get through the prospects of the election.  I love the people participating – the people’s choice.  We will see how that goes and we will go from there.

But, it is absolutely absolutely essential and urgent, not to get involved in politics here because that’s not our purpose, but I will say, from a patriotic standpoint, we must have a new President of the United States.