Transcript of Pelosi Interview on CBS This Morning with Gayle King
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Gayle King on CBS This Morning from Capitol Hill to discuss President Biden’s historic First 100 Days, last night’s Presidential Address to a Joint Session of Congress and other news of the day. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Gayle King. And Speaker Pelosi joins us right now. Madam Speaker, good morning to you.
Speaker Pelosi. Good morning.
Gayle King. Let's start with the shot yesterday, because it was something. It was historic to see you and Vice President Harris side-by-side. It was one of the times I thought, ‘I wish she had her mask off’ because I could tell you were smiling behind that matching mask.
How did it feel up there? And what were you thinking? Because you've been in that seat many times, but not like this.
Speaker Pelosi. Well, it was exciting. Of course, it was exciting when I was the first Speaker, as President Bush acknowledged that. But this was more than double. It had a synergy to it. It was something very, very special. But what made it even more important: we're there sending a message. The sky's the limit for girls and women. That’s important. But what was important is that the President's speech reflected that importance. It was a speech that was a triumph for women, for women in the workplace, for women at home. Violence against women, he talked about. He talked about equal pay for equal work. He talked about family and medical leave. He talked about Building Back Better for our country, and to do so we had to have the fuller participation of women. That was throughout his speech. So, I think it was a triumph for women, for families, for children, for all Americans.
Gayle King. He also talked about, though, Madam Speaker, the big, huge price tag. It’s like that phrase ‘go big or go home.’ You guys are certainly going very big, and the Republicans are saying you're going too big. And they’re making it clear they're not on board. How are you going to find a compromise when the Republican side is saying, ‘We are not going for this?’
Speaker Pelosi. The Republicans all vote ‘no’ and take the dough. They don't mind going home and bragging about some of the initiatives that were in our Rescue package, and that’s what they usually do. They don't mind giving a nearly $2 trillion tax break, at a cost to our national debt, just to give a $2 trillion gift to the richest people in America: 83 percent of the benefits of their tax scam of 2017 going to – 83 percent, 83 percent of it going to the top one percent.
So, what we're talking about here are investments. Nothing brings more money to the Treasury than the investment in education that we make. Early childhood – and the President has universal pre-K, early childhood, K-12, higher education that he talked about. Lifetime learning for our workers. All a part of the plan that he is putting forth. All of that brings more money than anything back to the Treasury. So, these are investments. And they – all of a sudden, they're deficit hawks when they were giving away money to the wealthiest people in our country under President Trump.
Gayle King. Yeah. I hear what you're saying. I get the point you're making. Politico this morning said it's like trying to put a rhinoceros through a garden hose. Last time I checked, it's difficult to do and very painful. Chris Christie said it's like giving a teenager a credit card with unlimited spending.
Speaker Pelosi. That's cute, but it isn't true. But it’s what they would say. But what we have to say is we have to go forward Building Back Better. There's nothing more expensive than not investing in our infrastructure –
Gayle King. Are you prepared to do it without compromise, Madam Speaker? Are you prepared to do it without compromise?
Speaker Pelosi. No. We've never – we've always had compromise on infrastructure. That has been the least partisan initiative we can take over the years. All of a sudden now, of course, they're saying, ‘Well, infrastructure is not workforce development.’ It is. If we want more women, minorities – if we want more of our veterans and everyone else involved in these – the constructions that the President was talking about, we have to have workforce development.
So again, we'll have to make the case. We always have a responsibility to reach out in a bipartisan way to find our common ground. And I think we will on many of the items. And we just have to. The American people know that we need to involve women and protect children. Children learning, parents earning. That's the – that's what we have to be thinking of. So, how are we going to have more women and dads, actually, moms and dads in the workplace when they have responsibility for the care of their children. So, it's pretty exciting. It's about community. And community has the word ‘unity’ in it. The President's speech was very unifying in the country, if not in the Congress. We'll see.
Gayle King. Racial justice is very much on people's minds during these times.
Speaker Pelosi. Yes.
Gayle King. This is very difficult. President Biden called on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act by next month, which would be the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd.
Speaker Pelosi. Right.
Gayle King. Do you think that's a realistic deadline? Can that be done?
Speaker Pelosi. Yes, I think so. I’m very proud of Karen Bass, who authored the bill in the House, now working in a bipartisan way in the House and in the Senate with Senator Tim Scott and others in the Senate. She has – she's optimistic. And even the Senator said in his response last night that he was willing to be working in a bipartisan way.
We have to get this done. Millions of people across the world and, constantly, in our own country came forth after last May when we saw the murder of George Floyd and said something had to be done. [The] Justice in Policing Act came forth. The family asked that it be named for George Floyd. They asked me that: ‘Madam Speaker, will you name it for our brother?’ I said, ‘Only if it is worthy of his name.’ And the legislation to date has been worthy of his name.
Gayle King. You are Speaker, certainly right now. But let's talk about the Census numbers that have just came in that do not look good for the Democrats. There is a possibility that you may not be Speaker during the –
Speaker Pelosi. Well, let's not worry about that. That's awfully – a year and a half away, and I feel quite confident –
Gayle King. You're not worried about it? But you’re not –
Speaker Pelosi. No, I think the Democrats –
Gayle King. A lot of people are.
Speaker Pelosi. Well, you know what, elections are always a contest, and you see what happens in them. But I feel very confident that the Democrats will hold the Majority after the next election.
I think that for all the huffing and puffing the Republicans are doing, these numbers were not as good for them as they had hoped. They wanted three in Texas, two in Florida, the rest. But many of the – much of the growth in many of these places that picked up more numbers, more Members in Congress, the growth was from Hispanics, African-Americans and the rest. So we'll see where those votes go.
But, this is right now. The best politics of all is to get the job done for the American people. The blueprint that was put forth by the President last night to meet the needs of the American people, that's what we're about. We're not worrying, being, ‘who's going to be Speaker two years from now?’
Gayle King. You’re right. A year and a half is a long time. I take your point.
Speaker Pelosi, thank you so much. If everything goes according to plan, we won't be wearing masks much longer, and you wear some of the best.
Speaker Pelosi. Did you see that? Right here.
Gayle King. Trying to figure out who – yeah, I see you. Thank you very much. Thank you for –
Speaker Pelosi. I hear you're going to be a grandmother.
Gayle King. Yes! Yes, I am! Yes, I am.
Speaker Pelosi. Congratulations.
Gayle King. Madam Speaker, I know we got to go. But what do your grandchildren call you? I’m looking for – I know we got to go, you guys. What is it?
Speaker Pelosi. They call me Mimi.
Gayle King. Mimi.
Speaker Pelosi. And I have nine. But – I can just say this for sure: knowing you, admiring you – when you have that grandbaby, you will have everything.
Gayle King. I know. Right now I’m walking around holding packs of rice, pounds of rice.
Gayle King. I can't wait to hold a real baby. Thank you. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Speaker Pelosi. Nothing more thrilling. Thank you so much. My pleasure to be with you.
Gayle King. Thanks.
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you.
Gayle King. Thanks a lot.