Transcript of Pelosi Interview on MSNBC’s LIVE with Ayman Mohyeldin

August 24, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Ayman Mohyeldin on MSNBC’s LIVE to discuss the more than 100 days since the House passed the Heroes Act, the House’s bipartisan passage of the Delivering for America Act to save the U.S. Postal Service and other news of the day.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks: 

Ayman Mohyeldin.  We want to begin this hour with Democratic Speaker of the House, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.  Madam Speaker, thank you so much for joining me this hour.  We appreciate your time.  

I want to talk about the President's attacks on voting, but I do want to begin with what is being done to help millions of desperate people at this hour.  Of course, the House passed The Heroes Act more than a hundred days ago.  There are 71 days until this election.  Can you honestly tell people that Congress will do anything to help them in the next 71 days or even by the end of the year? 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, a lot of that will be up to the Administration if they stop making their misrepresentations to the American people.  But 101 days ago, Congress passed, in a bipartisan way, legislation to honor our heroes, state and local government workers, health care workers, teachers, first responders, sanitation, transportation, food workers and the rest who meet the needs of the American people.  We also said we want to open up our schools and our economy in a healthy way by addressing the coronavirus, with testing, treating, tracing, et cetera, spacing, wear your masks and the rest.  And then put money in the pockets of the American people. 

Today, as I think about this and watch the President's remarks, I think, you know, some of his supporters, while they prefer him they have to know that they are choosing him over their own children.  The President is standing in the way of our passing legislation and having a strategic plan to crush this virus so that children can go to school safely, that teachers can go to school safely to work.  And this involves everything: the schools, ending the coronavirus, having the protections in the schools if children go there, to have the funding for state and local government who supplies over 90 percent of public education.   And also, if parents must go to work – and he’s declared teachers essential – if they must go to work, and their children cannot go to school, then we must have child care which they are resisting.  

So what they're doing is really immoral.  It's immoral.  The President said if we passed a freestanding postal bill he would sign it.  We did.  Now, he says no.  And this is a health issue as well in terms of nearly a hundred percent of the medicine that comes from the VA to our veterans goes through the mail.  The list goes on and on. 

Ayman Mohyeldin.  Madam Speaker, let me just ask you bluntly though, why has this happened?  Because in early June, there was this semblance that the economy may be looking a little bit better, case numbers were dropping.  There was criticism that Republicans got too optimistic too early about the need to do more.  Is there any criticism towards the Democrats that they did not keep the pressure on the Republicans in the House up? 

Speaker Pelosi.  No, we have kept the pressure on.  We passed [Heroes] 101 days ago.  Mitch McConnell called for a ‘pause.’  They had been receiving overwhelming advocacy from the American people, overwhelming.  Tying up their lies and the rest.  They just simply don't seem to care. 

But, no, we have kept the pressure on – to our own – having people like you say things like that, with all due respect.  The fact is they have refused to meet the needs of the American people. 

The president wants one – two things.  He wants a stock market to go up, so trillions of dollars are out there for the money markets, the credit markets and the rest to bolster the stock market.  And we are saying we need a commensurate amount of money to bolster the middle class in our country. 

But when it comes to help the American people, he wants one thing.  He wants to help Donald Trump by sending a letter with his name on it that says I'm sending you this check.  He doesn't care about stopping the virus that he calls a hoax.  He doesn't want to help state and local governments.  He said they should go bankrupt, that's what Mitch McConnell says.  He doesn't want to be helpful in terms of all that we have to do.  They say tracing is not necessary.  They don’t want to put the amount of money needed to crush the virus and that is the threshold. 

Now, on top of all of that, yesterday, what a disappointment the Commissioner of the FDA was to stand there with the President and validate the statement –

Ayman Mohyeldin.  And we’re going to get to that in just a moment, Madam Speaker.  We will definitely get to that in just a moment, but I do want to get a few other points.  There are, as you know, 500,000 mail-in ballots rejected in this year's primaries.  We are now anticipating even more come this November with all the new mail-in voting.  It could delay or call some results into questions for weeks, similar to what happened in Florida back in 2000.  You obviously received continuation of government briefings.  Are we, as a country, prepared for a situation like this in multiple states at the same time? 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, we have to be.  And that’s why we have the resources –

Ayman Mohyeldin.  But, are we?  Are we today?

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, we would if the President would agree to what we have in The Heroes Act to aid the states to conduct their elections according to the way they do and that is, to have safety if people want to vote in person, so they have distancing.  That means they have to have more space, more days, more time, more polling places in order to enable people to vote safely and to have a vote by mail so that people don't have to choose between their health and their vote. 

But in addition to that, we also have to have people prepared.  Many of the concerns that were expressed in what you so rightly pointed out was that people didn't sign the envelope or they didn't put the address, things like that, so we have a real education program.  I was the former Chair of the California Democratic Party.  I know a great deal about this and we have a plan to make sure that people have their own individual plan to vote and to vote early and to vote correctly, because, again, we can do all that we need to do to reach out, but we have to make sure when people turn it in, it will be counted as cast. 

Ayman Mohyeldin.  Okay, so speaking of people, our new MSNBC News-Wall Street Journal poll:  only 45 percent of Americans, 45 percent of Americans, that’s less than half, are confident in the results of the election being accurately counted.  That's actually fourteen points down from back in 2016.  Can you tell people today that they should not be afraid of what happens on November 3rd? 

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you for the opportunity to say.  One thing I will say to the American people: do not pay attention to Donald Trump.  It is his goal to scare people from voting, to intimidate them by saying he's going to have law enforcement people at the polls.  To welcome, in fact, Russian intervention, letting Putin decide who will be President instead of the American people.  But ignore him, because his purpose is to diminish the vote, to suppress the vote.  And shame on the Republicans for enabling that to happen, for enabling that to happen.

But we don't agonize, we organize.  And people are right to be concerned because the President of the United States is saying what he's saying.  But don't pay any attention to him.  Because that's just a victory for those who want a lower turnout so that fewer people are engaged in the decision.

And, again, what happened in 2016 was discouraging.  The Russians were there and they are there now, 24/7, trying to interfere in our election.  But they're not the only ones. 

We take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic.  And, sadly, the domestic enemies to our voting system and honoring our Constitution are right at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with their allies in the Congress of the United States.  But again, let's just get out there and mobilize, organize and not let the President deter anyone from voting. 

And again, support the postal system, which is Election Central.  They're doing everything they can:  suppress the vote with your actions, scare people, intimidate by saying law enforcement will be there, diminish the role of the postal system in all of this.   It's really, actually shameful.  Enemies of the state. 

Ayman Mohyeldin.  Madam Speaker, you brought up the issue of the FDA – Congressman Jim Clyburn says he is troubled by the FDA’s move, under pressure from the White House to give emergency approval for expanded use of convalescent plasma to help coronavirus patients.  Will the Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis hold hearings into the FDA’s decisions as to why that happened?   

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, I think there are a number of committees that will.  I know Congresswoman Eshoo, the Chair of the Health Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce and our distinguished Chairman, Mr. Pallone, are looking into this and have certain requests into the FDA on all of this, as well as Mr. Clyburn's committee. 

But the American people need to know, because this is a big danger.  And I expected more of Commissioner Hahn, what a disappointment.  And to see other – to see scientists and doctors talking about how he should probably walk this back just raises certain questions.  But what's really important is it diminishes the confidence that people may have, when, in fact, we do have clinical trials, we need people to participate.  

We pray for therapies that will be helpful.  We pray for a vaccine.  We do not pray for the FDA to use speed instead of efficacy and safety as the criteria, their criteria. 

Ayman Mohyeldin.  Madam Speaker, thank you so much for joining us this hour.  I appreciate your time, as always.  Thank you.

Speaker Pelosi.  Let’s just say though, as we go off.  It's about kids going to school, we want it to be safe for them and that's our focus in this week ahead.  Thank you so much. 

Ayman Mohyeldin.  Thank you.

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you.