Transcript of Pelosi Interview on MSNBC's The Beat with Ari Melber

August 27, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Ari Melber on MSNBC's The Beat 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: 

Ari Melber.  A big night in America.  The President speaks at the Convention and we are thrilled to have live right now the Speaker of the House, of course, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat from California.  Speaker, good to see you. 

Speaker Pelosi.  My pleasure. 

Ari Melber.  I want to begin with one of the most important substantive policies now, the status of debates over COVID relief and what you and your colleagues are doing. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, let me just say I said my pleasure to be here.  Not quite pleasure at a time we are having wildfires in California, described as Armageddon, a hurricane, hurricane in the coast of Texas and Louisiana, described as unsurvivable, when we have a pandemic of biblical proportions in our country.  Three issues that can be addressed by attention to science, science, and science. In terms of not being in denial about climate and not being – ignoring the recommendations of scientists. 

On top of that, we have Kenosha which it breaks your heart to see.  So we obviously, our prayers are with the family, the Blake family, but with the families of all that are affected throughout our country by the challenges that we face.  And this virus is one that is not only a health threat, but an economic threat and now a threat for the well-being of children as they go back to school.  So in that context, again, let's all be prayerful about some solutions that we can have. 

In the meantime, in terms of the so-called negotiations, we have, Mr. Schumer and I, have said we were willing to come down a trillion dollars in order to have a negotiation about how we go forward to again open up our economy by crushing, crushing this virus; how we honor our heroes – our health care workers, our sanitation, transportation, our teachers, our teachers, our teachers, our first responders who are so important to us and are paid by the state and local governments.  That's a big issue.  We have major disagreement in the negotiations over recognizing the need to do that.  And then, of course, putting money in people’s pockets and that includes feeding the hungry.  Millions of food insecure children in our country, millions of families in fear of losing their homes and being on the street. 

So again, we have a big chasm in terms of values.  And so this isn't just about dollars, it's about our responsibilities to the American people.  But we all want to find an agreement. 

Ari Melber.  Right, an agreement given how many people are struggling as you say. 

Sometimes here, we talk or question whether the Democrats are struggling with something.  Tonight, I want to ask you about a place where you and your strategy has been working and we’ve been covering this a lot on this program.  I know you're the Speaker of the House, you may be too busy to watch it.  But you set out an emergency pressure effort to hold the Trump Administration accountable for potentially messing with votes by mail and it appears to be working.  They say they're backing off.  Because we want to stay on the story, I'm curious in your view, do you agree, is this working?  You called the emergency session, they relented to some degree.   And what else do people need to know about this going into the election? 

Speaker Pelosi.  What people need to know is not to pay attention to the President of the United States when he engages in his fear tactics.  He’s still saying he doesn't trust how the votes will be counted.  That's a way of saying to people, ‘Why bother to vote.  Your vote may not even be counted.’ 

So, ignore him, because he knows he can't win under normal circumstances, so he has to engage in fear tactics and intimidation at the polls by saying he's going to have certain people there to watch people who show up.  What is that? 

So again, we don't agonize over him.  We organize, and we are organizing to make sure that people vote, that they vote early, that they correctly fill out their forms, that if they need to vote in person that their authorities will enable them to have the distancing.  That means you have to have more precincts, you have to have polling places, you have to have more time, more days in order to enable people to vote.  And that's what we have in The Heroes Act, the funds to enable just that to happen so people don't have to choose between their health and their vote because of the President's tactics.

Ari Melber.  Yes, understood.  And I think it has been striking to see how that worked.  We have been covering that.  You did make some waves talking about Joe Biden versus Donald Trump, including the debates.  Could you expound on your thoughts?  I think they interested people.

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, I have every confidence in Joe Biden.  As I’ve said, he knows why.  He knows his why he is running for president.  He has a vision for America that is very inclusive.  He knows the subjects, he has experience in governance, and therefore can think strategically about how to get things done by bringing people together.  And that is all up here.  But here in his heart he connects with the American people in a very beautiful way.  He is so authentic.  He identifies with their kitchen table concerns, and they know that. 

Why I said he shouldn't debate him has nothing to do with Joe Biden.  Joe Biden will be great.  He is great as a debater.  What it is, is about how totally inappropriate if that's the word, that's the nicest word I can think of the President is.  I mean, he has no even slight flirtation with truth, fact, evidence, data that they would have to have people there judging whether he is telling the truth on something. 

Why even waste everybody's time listening to what he has to say?  If they want to hear though, he should have his own forum, and Joe should have his own forum.  But it’s no use discussing.  Joe Biden wants – he is ready to go and wants to get into that debate. 

My concern – my concern was that the President has not shown any respect for the office that he holds, and I don't expect that he will have any respect for the debates for that office as he has not shown any respect for giving people the right to vote without intimidation. 

Ari Melber.  Well, it is striking, Speaker, because you have clashed with certain presidents, but we’ve never heard you – and you have a career and record, we’ve never heard you say a president was this illegitimate and beneath debate.  I think a lot of us know why you take that position, notwithstanding comments for Joe Biden.  Big night tonight, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, I appreciate you joining us. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, I have worked in a very positive way with Republican presidents.  This is quite different.  I ask the Republicans to take back their party.  They'll see the difference tonight between the light of last week and darkness of this week.  Thank you.

Ari Melber.  Thank you, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Appreciate it.