Transcript of Pelosi Interview on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports

May 28, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reporters to discuss The Heroes Act, House Democrats’ urgently-needed legislation to address the COVID-19 health and economic crisis, and other news of the day.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Andrea Mitchell.  And joining us now from Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Madam Speaker, thank you for joining us on a very busy day.

Speaker Pelosi.  Always a pleasure.

Andrea Mitchell.  First of all, your reaction on this proposed crack down from the White House against the social media companies?

Speaker Pelosi.  I think it's just typical President Trump, a distraction.  

100,000 people – more than 100,000 people have died from the coronavirus.  This Administration has been a failure in terms of what we're doing on testing, tracing, treating and isolating people.  The President has been a terrible example of not wearing a mask, making – belittling those who do.

So, anything he does is a distraction from the problem at hand.  People are dying.

Andrea Mitchell.  Summed with –

Speaker Pelosi.  Rome is burning, and all people want to talk about is what he said next about this.  That is a success for him, so I just will not go there.

It's about testing, testing, testing, to open up our schools so our children can go back safely.  It's about opening up our economy, so that we can flourish.  It's about saving lives.  

And all of this is a distraction from the problem at hand.  We have people dying and he's talking about one thing and another and then monopolizes the whole conversation.  I just simply won't go there.

Andrea Mitchell.  But let me just ask you, because the initial reason that Jack Dorsey used for fact checking him was on mail-in voting.  And he is potentially influencing the accuracy, the possibility of the election, which is another very important issue –

Speaker Pelosi.  Well he does, if we take it up.  Let me just say as far as the platforms are concerned –

Andrea Mitchell.  One thing, I'm just – yeah.

Speaker Pelosi. – as far as the platforms are concerned, they want two things from the federal government, no regulation and no taxes.  So they cater to the Trump Administration all the time.

I think that Mark Zuckerberg's statement was a disgrace.  And Twitter, they're not taking off any accusations the President is making about Joe Scarborough.  They know that's not true.  So they do a token thing and think it's okay.

So, again, I don't know if there's honor among thieves but that's the – they only have a business model to make money, not to convey facts.  That's what they're about.  

So, again, I see it as a distraction from what is the challenge at hand, which is to save lives.  And, every day, the President comes up with another stunt.  And, every day, the airwaves are full of that stunt without holding him fully accountable for the lives that are lost because we don't have, under his leadership, an appropriate testing.  

Now, we do in The Heroes Act.  The Heroes Act has a robust, rapid testing where we're reaching out to underserved communities, communities of color which are seriously affected disproportionately.  We're saying that we're going to test.  We're going to trace.  We're going to treat.  We're going to save lives as we engage in isolation and the rest.

Other countries have not had the death toll – some of the other countries haven't.  They don't have a vaccine.  They don't have any cures.  But they do have good practices.  And the President is a bad example.

We have to keep our eye on the ball of saving lives to open the economy so that we can come back even stronger working together.

Andrea Mitchell.  There’s so much to ask you about, including the tragedies that are – the tragedy that took place in Minneapolis.  But in following up on the COVID-19 for a moment, I also want to ask you about Alameda County, about what's happening, hotspots, including in your home area.  Are we reopening too soon?  Possibly in response to the White House pressure and the lack of modeling from the President that you have been talking about?  Or do you think that the governors can handle this?  

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, they actually –

Andrea Mitchell.  Because we could be having huge setbacks. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, you have to, in other words, you see examples of people piled together in a pool here or there and you're thinking, that isn't smart.  It's in fact very dangerous.  And any encouragement to do that is very dangerous and the President does encourage that.  I just, I like to ignore him because what he says and does has no relationship to the challenges that we face.   

But the fact is, in terms of what we need to do and what this country needs, we have it in our legislation.  We've had it from March 4th legislation: testing, testing, testing.  They just won't do it.  Because they don't want to face the reality of what is happening out there. 

So, when we talk about opening up, it's foolish to open up in any way other than that which has guidelines about distancing and masks and the rest.  And to do so in a way that preserves health and not endangers people.  Because when you go out there, you're not only endangering yourself, you're bringing something home to your children or your parents, if they're older, and in that category with a predisposition. 

So, this is about acting unselfishly.  You don't wear a mask, you're being very selfish.  You’re not protecting your – it's not about how strong you think you are, it's how unconcerned you are about what you might spread to someone else. 

So, if – of course, we all want to be out.  It’s – that’s natural.  And I like the idea of fresh air, as a matter of fact, for my children and grandchildren.  However, you have to do so in a very, very safe way.  And that's what leadership the Administration should be taking instead of saying, ‘magically,’ ‘it's a hoax,’ ‘magically,’ this, that, the other thing.  No. Face the facts, face the reality of what it is and only then we'll be able, as we understand the challenge, address the needs, do it in a robust and fast way so that we diminish the death toll. 

Andrea Mitchell.  And I did want to turn to the terrible death of George Floyd, which is inflaming protests not only in, obviously in Minnesota, but also now in Chicago and LA.  Stephen Jackson, a close friend of Floyd, is a former member of the Bay Area's legendary 2007 ‘We believe’ Golden State Warriors.  He spoke about the loss today.  Let me play a little bit about that to you. 

Stephen Jackson.  What's killing me the most about this whole thing is being a professional athlete, so many people abuse your friendship and your kindness, and he was one of those guys that genuinely supported me.  He didn't call unless he really needed it.  You don’t have many people that genuinely support you without any motives, and Floyd was that guy.

Andrea Mitchell.  Madam Speaker, what is it going to take for our country to address the issue of police violence against people of color across this country, repeatedly, year after year?

Speaker Pelosi.  It's really quite a challenge.  Let's just personally address, though, the Floyd case.  It's so very, very sad, because the American people saw an execution, a murder right before our very eyes.  It wasn't self-defense.  There has to be justice in that case.  And to hear Mr. Jackson and then Bridget, Mr. Floyd’s sister, talk about him.  She said he was a gentle person.  He wouldn't hurt a fly, so lovely, so missed.  Our prayers and thoughts are with them.  

But whether he wouldn’t hurt a fly or not doesn't mean that he should be executed on TV or any place.  We saw it, so we can't deny it or qualify it.  So, justice has to be done.  It must be prosecuted.  

In any case, the – my Congressional Black Caucus, I just got off the phone with Chair Bass.  They have been talking about this issue for a very long time, because it's been with us for a very long time.  There are some initiatives, a commission on the social status of black men and boys that Congresswoman Wilson of Florida has been putting forth.  The Judiciary Committee is writing about this and Arbery to the Justice Department just about recent cases.  

Say in the past number of years there have been a thousand cases of deaths from police brutality.  Overwhelmingly – the overwhelming number is – are deaths of blacks.  So there is – there is – the data is there.  The challenge is there.  And we cannot – it cannot be ignored, nor has it been by our leadership in terms of our Black Caucus and others.  

But we just have to take this moment.  I probably shouldn't say this because every single case is a terrible tragedy, but at this time, when we're so sad about the loss of so much life, in some cases so unnecessarily, and the fragility of life, to see a life taken, it just – it hits in a very, very sad and special way.  Mr. Arbery as well. 

Andrea Mitchell.  Thank you very much.  I think everyone appreciates your comments on this case.  Thank you, Madam Speaker, for taking the time to be with us today.

Speaker Pelosi.  Always wonderful to be with you.  I wish they were in better times.  We're going to have a moment of silence on the Floor for the over 100,000 who have passed away, but a moment of silence is worthless if we don't take action to prevent more deaths as we carry those who died in our hearts.  

Thank you very much.  Always good to be with you.  

Andrea Mitchell.  Understood.  Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.