Transcript of Pelosi Interview on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Anderson Cooper on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 to discuss the urgent need for the Senate to take up the House-passed Heroes Act, the Trump Administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic response and other news of the day. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Anderson Cooper. Our breaking news tonight: President Trump commutes the prison sentence of his long-time legal advisor, Roger Stone. Earlier tonight I talked about it with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, before the White House made the announcement.
But we started with the White House response to the pandemic and what Washington might do to turn it around. Here is my conversation with Speaker Pelosi.
Madam Speaker, President Trump claims, ‘We're in a good place,’ those were his words, ‘in this pandemic.’ He’s pushing, obviously, for schools to reopen, but says the CDC guidelines are too tough, expensive and impractical, hasn’t been to a coronavirus taskforce briefing since April and Dr. Fauci, now, says he hasn't seen the President in more than a month and hasn't directly briefed him in more than two months. Should the American people listen to anything the President says at this point regarding coronavirus and, if not, who should they listen to?
Speaker Pelosi. No, the fact is is that the President has been a failure in every way, right from the start: his denial – calling it a hoax – his delay and all the rest have gotten us into a very bad place.
But we want to go forward and where we go from here is not to listen to the President because he doesn't listen to the scientists. It's very, very sad. And, now, he's messing with our children. We all want our children to go back to school, but we want them to go to school safely. And that's an absolute must for every parent and for every teacher in our country.
Anderson Cooper. You talked about the importance of testing, of tracing, of treating and distancing. Things are so bad, though, in some states, that the experts I've been talking to say contact tracing now isn't even practical in some places because there are simply too many positive cases. How do we get out of this without, you know, centralized federal leadership?
Speaker Pelosi. Well you just have to have that leadership. In all of the countries of the world that have been successful in curtailing the spread of the virus or, at least, to, in some cases, end it, they have had a centralized leadership. And that leadership has to have a strategic plan based on science and all the science tells us what we have in The Heroes Act is about testing, tracing, treatment, distancing, mask wearing, hand washing.
And the President just seems to resist science and he also resists governance. Science and governance are what will get us out of this, but the President, I just can't explain it. I don't want to waste too much time on him.
What we have to do is: how can we go forward? One way is to pass The Heroes Act.
Anderson Cooper. Where does that stand now? Because, obviously, you know, there's supposed to be a second – could you explain more about The Heroes Act? What it will entail?
Speaker Pelosi. Yes. I'd love to. First, the three pillars to The Heroes Act. It's called The Heroes Act because it's about our heroes: our health care workers, our teachers, our first responders, our transit workers, our food suppliers and the rest; sanitation workers. All of the services that meet the needs of people and that – how we honor them and we have no authority to thank them or honor them unless we want to support them.
Anderson Cooper. Dr. Fauci said this week that any state that's having a serious problem with infections right now should seriously look at shutting down, potentially. California, obviously your home state, one of those states struggling right now, sadly. I mean, is the shutdown in California or any other state that’s seeing a surge and continued infections, is that something governors should entertain?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, I think each community has to make, has to make its own decisions in terms of the state and the city and et cetera. As to what the infection rate is there, how it has diminished or not over a fourteen-day period. And people have to make their judgment – leaders there have to make their judgment about what works in their communities because the shutdown is a hard thing.
People don't want to have to stay home. They want to go to work, they want their kids to go to school, but they are so smart. The American people are so smart. They don't want to do this unless it is safe, and that's a judgment that the communities have to make. But in order to help them make that, we have to let them – they have to be able to quantify what the virus is in their community: testing, tracing, treating, social distancing.
Anderson Cooper. Just final questions. CNN is reporting that according to half a dozen people close to the President, it's widely expected he's going to grant clemency to Roger Stone before he's sent to prison next week. The President has branded himself, obviously, a ‘law and order’ president, although what that definition is for him is, frankly, unclear.
He would be going against the Justice Department’s wishes here, if he did this, to say nothing of the jury and the federal judge. What do you think of that idea?
Speaker Pelosi. I think it's a terrible idea. Just look at this Administration, the President and his henchmen. So many of his friends, advisers, campaign chairmen, et cetera, are in jail. And for the President to be able to issue a pardon on the basis of a crime that the person committed assisting the President is ridiculous.
And we have to – there ought to be a law, and I’m recommending we pass a law that presidents cannot issue a pardon if the crime that the person is in jail for is one that is caused by protecting the President, which this was. It's appalling.
Anderson Cooper. I appreciate your time. Thank you.
Speaker Pelosi. My pleasure. Thank you so much, Anderson.