Transcript of Pelosi Interview on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360

May 18, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Anderson Cooper on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 to discuss The Heroes Act, House Democrats’ urgently-needed legislation to address the COVID-19 health and economic crisis, and the President’s late-night, weekend firing of the State Department Inspector General.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Anderson Cooper.  I spoke to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  We started with the President's comments with the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine. 

Madam Speaker, what is your reaction to the President saying that he is now taking hydroxychloroquine?  Are you concerned? 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, first let me say how happy I am about your new baby, how lovely. 

Anderson Cooper.  Thank you. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Wyatt, how perfectly named.  We all know why that is and congratulations.  And as you now are a father, you see how important it is to keep the world safe, for the children, for the children. 

As far as the President is concerned, he's our President and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group, morbidly obese, they say.  So, I think it's not a good idea. 

Anderson Cooper.  In terms of the State Department Inspector General's firing, I read the letter you sent to President Trump asking for an explanation; that the House Foreign Affairs Chair is launching a probe into this and you said yesterday the firing looks like it's retaliation.  That can be unlawful.  What would happen then? 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, the fact is that the President should acknowledge why we even have Inspectors General.  This followed Watergate, to have transparency, accountability, to fight waste, fraud, abuse in our governmental actions.  

While the law – the President is correct in saying he can fire anyone he wants, when it comes to Inspectors General, he has a responsibility to inform Congress first.  But it is also essential when he says, ‘He has lost my confidence,’ to tell us why he has lost it.  This is the fourth Inspector General that the President has lost confidence in, so to speak, and it's a pattern that I think is unhealthy for a democracy. 

Anderson Cooper.  He has now said publicly, the President, that he doesn't know anything about this person, that he was asked to do this by the Secretary of State and that when he heard he was appointed by President Obama that seemed to be reason enough for the President. 

Secretary Pompeo says he asked for the Inspector General to be fired because he was, ‘Undermining the State Department.’  And I know in addition to the IG investigating whether Pompeo made a staffer perform a variety of personal errands.  Pompeo refused to cooperate, we're learning, with the IG's probe into the Saudi arms sales, which you also indicated in your letter.  Do you have confidence in Secretary Pompeo right now? 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, the fact is that they declared an emergency almost a year ago as a basis for how they would – why they needed to have the arms sales to the Emirates and to Saudi Arabia.  It wasn't appropriate. 

Now, right now, they're having another, advising us of something that they're giving over $5 million worth of ventilators to Russia.  Russia can very well afford to pay for those ventilators.  So, they just wheel and deal in a way that is not appropriate, and I wouldn't put up with it with a Democratic president or a Republican president. 

But that arms sale by declaring a fake emergency in order to just go forward without the accountability and transparency that our government really thrives on, is something that is worthy of attention, and perhaps, and I don't know for sure — I just said in my letter that it has been reported in the press that it was about the Saudi arms sale.

Anderson Cooper.  The House has narrowly passed more funding for – for people, more of a bailout, and I'm wondering, the Senate clearly – it's likely to fail in the Senate.  The President has threatened to veto it.  What is the next step for that?  I mean, is this – is this done? 

Speaker Pelosi.  They're going to come to the table.  They must.  The American people need this honoring our heroes by allocating the resources to state and local governments, tribal governments and territories to meet the needs of the American people.  The American people want us to open up our economy, and we do that by testing, tracing, treatment and whatever else is necessary in that regard.  And then, we need to put money in people's pockets. 

All three of these things have been supported by the Republicans.  So, we wrote a bill that was based on initiatives that they have supported and that we have both supported in a bipartisan way.  We do have some areas of disagreement, and those are cause for negotiation. 

But I don't think there's any question that what this country needs is a robust testing initiative with a plan, a timetable, benchmarks, milestones, to get the job done that our states and localities are going to have to either raise taxes, cut services or both, unless they have an infusion of cash for the purpose of countering, helping to defray the cost of corona already – the coronavirus cost as well as the lost revenue because of corona.  And it is – you know – so I have no doubt that they will come to the table. 

Anderson Cooper.  Speaker Pelosi, I appreciate your time.  Thank you. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you.  My pleasure.  Congratulations, again, on precious Wyatt.  Thank you.