Transcript of Pelosi Interview on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports

July 24, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports to discuss coronavirus relief legislation, the Trump Administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic response and other news of the day.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks: 

Andrea Mitchell.  Millions of Americans are about to experience more economic pain as enhanced unemployment benefits, the additional $600 a week from the stimulus, are set to expire along with protection from evictions and a host of other desperately-needed economic relief during this pandemic.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joins me now from the Capitol.  Madam Speaker, thank you very much.  

We just played an interview with Mercedes Borges that was done by Morgan Radford, our correspondent.  She lives in Milwaukee.  She’s being evicted.  She’s been living in this house for three years.  She’s got two children.  She was literally weeping on camera about letting her kids down and about not even having a place to boil water for them, that they look up to her as their hero.  I mean, I was overwhelmed by it.  I'm sure our viewers were.  

And, yet, the Democrats have yet to hear from a united Republican approach on a bill.  I mean, you know how long it's been since you passed legislation but everyone is going to be blamed: the President, the Senate and the Democratic House by Americans who are just hurting as this recession gets worse.

Speaker Pelosi.  Well it's not about blame of the Democratic House.  We have put forth our resolution two months and eight – nine days ago.

Andrea Mitchell.  No, I know –

Speaker Pelosi.  And also, in addition to that, specifically for rent, we did a couple of weeks ago, on a Monday, under the leadership of Maxine Waters.

But regardless of how we assign blame or point fingers, the fact is, as you describe, millions, tens of millions of people are out of work.  And, now, we've reached four million people infected by this virus and the Senate Republicans have decided to take the weekend off.

But let's get more to the family that you described.  These are the people – these are the people that we, as Democrats, are in Congress to fight for.  These are the kitchen table concerns that are repeated across the country.  And thank you for showing that story because nothing is more eloquent or more clearly drives home the message than the personal stories.

Right now, we're in a situation where people will be evicted from their homes and they are starving.  There's food insecurity across America.  Millions of children are hungry.  These are kitchen table issues.  Out of work, out of money, out of food, out of the house.

And, again, there are answers to this.  They are answers that have a basis of what we've done before.  I, for the life of me, cannot understand why the Republicans in Congress hold it against people without, shall we say, a trust fund or something, why they can't get through this on their own.  

Food, food stamps – we're trying to increase the level of food assistance, and they resist that.  Rent – now, do you understand people will be on the street and people are hungry?  This is the United States of America.

So, let's find out how we can work together to go forward.  We were hopeful the other day when we met with the Secretary of the Treasury and the rest, Leader Schumer and I, to talk about these issues.  Then within 24 or 48 hours, they were going to come back with their bill.  

And of course our bill, as I said, it's lean and mean.  It's exactly what we need.  It sounds like a lot of money, but the challenge is a big one.  In 100 days – it took 100 days, 100 days to get to one million infected people in our country.  It took half that time to get to [two million].  It took a quarter of that time, 27 days, to get to three million and it took about 16 days to get to four million.  This thing is accelerating.  Accelerating.  

Why?  Because delay, denial, distortion.  Now, finally, hopefully, we will be able to get a bill that holds this in check so we can open our schools and our economy with testing, tracing, treating.  We can put money in the pockets of the American people.  We can honor our heroes with state and local funds, and they're missing in action.

Andrea Mitchell.  The President also in the last day repealed the anti-segregated housing action for the suburbs.  He's being criticized as, frankly, race baiting, with a pitch to suburban women voters, a cohort he is losing in recent polls.  His pitch was to, ‘suburban housewives of America.’  Does that sound like we're going back to the 1950s?

Speaker Pelosi.  It sounds like condescension and disrespect, is what it does, and it also sounds like discrimination and fear baiting.  He's just fearmongering.  It's just a ball of his tricks that he does all the time, bigotry, fearmongering, condescension and distortion.

But you know what?  American women are smarter than that.  Again, the ‘housewives’ part was interesting.  I loved being a housewife when I was a housewife, but I was other things as well, and I had judgment.  

It's actually sort of in the same vein of Mr. Yoho, and weren’t we proud of Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez?  As a grandmother of two young granddaughters and a mother of four, during the course – I just want to say, you go, Congresswoman.  You go, Congresswoman.  But it's the same condescension and disrespect.

Andrea Mitchell.  I wanted to play a little bit of her very impactful speech yesterday.  Let's watch.

[Clip of Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez]

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez.  What I believe is that having a daughter does not make a man decent.  Having a wife does not make a decent man.  Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man.  And when a decent man messes up, as we all are bound to do, he tries his best and does apologize, not to save face, not to win a vote.

[End of Clip]

Andrea Mitchell.  It strikes me that the importance of having so many more women in the House is that there is more diversity and there was diversity, there was strength in that diversity with the other women House Members backing her up, and more importantly, you backing her up. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Of course.  Well, you know, what was clear from what she said is that what happened that day was his problem and continues to be his problem.  She's not taking any insult from him in terms of any diminishment of competence that she has as to who she is.  We couldn't have been prouder. 

Andrea Mitchell.  I want to talk about schools.  You mentioned reopening schools –

Speaker Pelosi.  If I may say, he may have thought he had license to do that because of the language that the President has used in regard to women in the course of his life, and that is well-known to people.  And perhaps accepted as something that passes for civilized in certain circles on the Republican side of the aisle. 

Andrea Mitchell.  Well, she and you have certainly made it clear that that language is not acceptable.

Speaker Pelosi.  No.

Andrea Mitchell.   If it ever was, anymore.  But I did want to ask you about schools because you talked about the importance of getting everything back on track and how there are these hotspots.  If it's not safe now for the President to hold the Republican Convention in Jacksonville, why is it safe to reopen schools?

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, good question.  And I would add to that, when someone tested positive working in a cafeteria in the White House complex, they shut down the cafeteria and they tested and traced beyond that.  Why wouldn't they do that for our children in the schools?

The safety of our children, as I’ve said to you before, consider me a lioness, I'm willing to be respectful of everybody's space, but you come near our cubs, you hurt our cubs, you're dead.  So, just don't take any risks with America's children. 

And we all want them to be back in school.  As a grandmother of nine, we want them to be in school, they want to be in school with their friends, their parents want them in school, their teachers want to teach them in school.  But we have to have safety there, at least as much safety as in the White House cafeteria. 

And again, it takes money to do that, to have the spacing.  You need more space.  You need more teachers.  To be in school, you need to have clean ventilation.  That takes resources.  We have just that in our Heroes Act, and I think we're going to need more. 

And the Secretary of Education, what did she say, ‘Children should take risks, astronauts take risks.’  What are we talking about here?  What world do these people live in?  They don't understand that people need food, that they need Unemployment Insurance, that they need housing, that their children need safety in schools. 

Andrea Mitchell.  Madam Speaker, thank you so much.  Thanks for being with us. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you, my pleasure.  Thank you.