Transcript of Pelosi Interview on CNBC's Squawk on the Street with Jim Cramer

September 15, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Jim Cramer on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street to discuss the more than 100 days since the House passed the Heroes Act, Senate Republicans’ empty COVID relief proposal and other news of the day.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks: 

Jim Cramer.  I want to bring in our next guest, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, to react to that, because it's a pretty serious charge to say her own Members are upset because they think they're being sacrificed.  Madam Speaker, welcome to the show.  Maybe we can get right to the bottom of this.  What's really going on here?

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, you know I wouldn't stoop to the level of responding to silliness that has no idea – I just got off of a call with my colleagues.  We are committed to staying here until we have an agreement, an agreement that meets the needs of the American people.  We're optimistic that the White House, at least, will understand that we have to do some things.

We have had a disagreement on crushing the virus, and that's a very important part of the Heroes Act: testing, tracing, treatment, mask wearing, ventilation, distancing and the rest.  That's really – and every time I come on the show I tell you – this is it.  You want to open government or open economy, you want to open schools, crush the virus. 

We also want to help state and local government, which they are accusing of all kinds of things because they don't want to help them.  But we have to, because it's about jobs and the fiscal soundness of state and local government is very important to the fiscal soundness of our country.  And it's about meeting the needs of people, our heroes, hence the name: health care workers, police, fire, transportation, sanitation, food workers, teachers, teachers, teachers to teach our children.  And speaking of teaching our children, you know that over 90 percent of the funding for education, public education in our country comes from state and local government. 

So, we very – feel very proud of the work that we have done.  It is scientifically, academically, institutionally documented to be what really meets the needs of people who are hungry in our country.  Maybe fourteen million children are food insecure, many millions of their families are on the verge of eviction.  We have that in our legislation.  They do not.  So this isn't about the President.  It's about meeting the needs of the American people and I’m very proud of the work my Caucus has done in promoting this and addressing the disparities in how if you're African-American, you're many more times likely to go to the hospital with this, Hispanic, nearly five times more likely to go to the hospital for the coronavirus.  We have a big challenge and if we could just look to science and fairness, we can get the job done working together. 

Jim Cramer.  Well, Madam Speaker, I think that all of America would agree that we don't want anyone to be hungry, let alone fourteen million children, but –  

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, apparently they do.  They don't have money in the bill.

Jim Cramer.  Okay.  But, at the same time, what is the bottom-line, minimum-demand skinny package so we can get something done now and deal with other issues later?

Speaker Pelosi.  There is no later with this Administration.  This is the opportunity.  And a skinny deal is a Republican bill.  That’s not a deal at all.  They're making a skinny – Chuck Schumer and I call it emaciated – proposal for a massive problem.  We have to face that reality.  As you know better than I, the Fed is spending trillions of dollars shoring up our economy in other ways with monetary policy.  We can fiscally spend the appropriate amount of money to meet the needs of the American people. 

And by the way, it's stimulus.  You know better than I that we are a consumer economy and the more we have, whether it's food stamps or Unemployment Insurance and the rest of that, that is – rental checks, that is stimulus to the economy, while it helps people maintain their dignity. 

Jim Cramer.  Madam Speaker, a lot of those people and the bread winners in the family have been hurt specifically by the government, meaning local governments doing the right thing, frankly, in closing down businesses, business interruption.  Why not try to at least target, say hospitality, restaurants, the industries that you know are bleeding nationwide, to get that done and then think bigger?  I know you said that nothing can be accomplished, but we need to put some money in these people's pockets now. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, we do.  We have the RESTAURANTS Act.  Mr. Blumenauer of Oregon has that legislation.  It's expensive, it’s $125 billion.  We would welcome some of that into our bill, which means though, we have to cut further into the original $3.4 trillion, but it's, I think, very important to do.  I come from San Francisco, restaurants are our community life.  You're in the New York area, you know what that means.  But it means that all over the country.  

And so, yeah, we want to be sure though that as we do the small business initiatives, it's not like you have a second dip, you have a second dip without having the oversight or without having the proper opportunities for women-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned, rural-owned businesses to be able to participate in a strong way. 

So, we're not in disagreement on this.  It's just that it all takes money, money that the Republicans were willing to spend on giving tax breaks to the top one percent – 83 percent of the benefits to the top – of their tax bill, going to the top one percent.  And that money, that I think is appropriate, to be used by the Fed to shore up the markets.  You see the stock market is doing well, that's a good thing.  But let's shore up the middle class in our country as well, and do so based on science to get rid of the virus.  And then we can open up and take our economy into the future in a way that it lifts up everyone

Jim Cramer.  Well, you're talking about science.  You're from San Francisco.  There are incredible wildfires, I mean –

Speaker Pelosi.  Yeah.  

Jim Cramer.  I studied at school that Creationism was a mistake.  There's a flat earth, not so good.  The President and you dramatically disagree on what's happening with the fires and science.  So, how could you agree with science on something as hard as a vaccine or COVID-19? 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, if you're in contempt of science, as the President seems to be when it comes to addressing the coronavirus these many months, in his own words, contempt for science, and also not only contempt for science, but acting upon that contempt by having his henchmen interfere with the data collection and how it is reported, and how tests, the FDA does its work. 

And God bless them all for standing up, both the people at the FDA, the scientists there, the Pharma executives as well as people at the NIH supporting testing, testing, testing, even though the CDC guidelines are weak in that regard.  So, they have acted upon their disdain for science in a way that has been very negative, A. 

B, their contempt for science on the climate issue is of longevity.  It's just not President Trump.  The Republicans for years have always had legislation to prevent any advancement of what happened at Kyoto or the Paris Accord.  The President pulled out of that, but that was a reflection of some of the sentiment of our colleagues in the Congress, because they’re in the total pocket of the fossil fuel industry, as they are in the total pocket of the gun, the NRA and other lobbyist.  And they’re in the total pocket of so many dark special interests that prevent us from making the progress we need to make.  We want to do it in a unified way.  I was – go ahead. 

Jim Cramer.  Madam Speaker, I’m listening to you, and three days ago you told CNN you were optimistic about a deal.

Speaker Pelosi.  I am. 

Jim Cramer.  Really?  I thought I’d take it right off the table right here this very minute.  You had Mark Meadows go and say he was the skunk at the party.  He didn't really – he got in the way between you and I think Secretary Mnuchin.  What deal can we have, Crazy Nancy?  I’m sorry, that was the President.  I have such reverence for the office.  I would never use that term, but it is –

Speaker Pelosi.  But you just did. 

[Laughter]

But you just did. 

Jim Cramer.  Oh, come on, you know what I mean.  You know what I mean.

Speaker Pelosi.  I know what you meant, I do.

Jim Cramer.  The reverence I have for the office is so great that I think it's a travesty to ever call – look, you spent your whole life in public service. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Let me just say this, anything the President says is a projection of his own insecurities.  He calls other people crazy because he knows he is.  He calls – he complains about this, that and the other thing because he knows his own shortcomings.  He's a master of projection, so any time he says something, you say, ‘Uh-oh, that's what he's thinking of himself.’  As I do this, I’m touching my pin here, which is a pin, a flag pin, and on it, it says ‘One Country, One Destiny.’  ‘One Country, One Destiny,’ and that's what we're about, following the guidance of our Founders.

Jim Cramer.  So, you can combat the divide.  You think you can combat the divide in this country that makes it so that half the country does well and half the country does poorly?  It just happens to be the half that does poorly votes Democrat?

Speaker Pelosi.  No, that's not what this is about. 

Jim Cramer.  Okay. 

Speaker Pelosi.  This is about the United States of America.  This is about a great country that we all love.  And we love our Constitution, which the President disrespects. 

We love our land, which God gave us from sea to shining sea, which the President degrades almost twice a week, if not every day. 

We love our people, a nation of immigrants, unless you're blessed to be born a Native American, which is a blessing to you, to our country and to all who love you.  And he denigrates them.

And we are about our values as a country.  This beacon of hope to the world of a democracy, of a government of, for and by the people, which he dishonors.  So, we have a disagreement there. 

But people do listen to the President.  A president's words weigh a ton, and when we have a new president, Joe Biden, I think he will be a very unifying force.  He believes, as do I, what our Founders gave us as guidance, ‘E Pluribus Unum,’ From Many, One.  From Many, One.  ‘One Nation, One Destiny,’ and by the way, that was what was sewn into Abraham Lincoln's coat that he had on that fateful night.  ‘One Country, One Destiny.’

Jim Cramer.  Alright, so, but that is November.  That is a long time for people who are starving, for people who are incredibly poorly off.  You have not spoken to the President since one year ago.  Is it worth it to call him and say ‘Listen, we just cannot have these people starve.  We have to do something.’  Is it worth it to put in a call? 

Speaker Pelosi.  What is the point?  I mean the President has sent his representatives.  If he has confidence in them, then I do too.  We did this with President Bush when he was President, and sometimes with President Obama, but my experience with the President is that he really has a complete alienation with fact, data, evidence and truth.  

And so, if you're talking to him, you're almost wasting your time, because it's not going to pan out.  Don't take it from me.  Look at your coverage that you have all had of the President sitting at the table with Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate, and saying, ‘You just bring me a bipartisan immigration bill, and I will sign it.’  Well, I don't know who checks up on him on those things, but that completely disappeared. 

So, again, we'll discuss the – when it would make a difference, but I don't see that it makes a difference.  And besides, that wasn't a year.  That was October when I said to him, ‘Mr. President, with you all roads lead to Putin,’ let me remind you, and that he took a picture of and sent it out to people.  Thank you, Mr.  President.  And I did communicate with him at the State of the Union Address. 

Jim Cramer.  Okay, very good.  I want to thank Nancy Pelosi, and again, you know I was being facetious when I used the term involving you. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Of course I did.  I have great respect for you.

Jim Cramer.  I have respect for you.  Anyone who gives their life to public service and is Speaker of the House should not be called that name.  I don't even want to use it again.  Thank you so much to Nancy Pelosi

Speaker Pelosi.  Don't worry about that.  Let that be your biggest problem today.  Thank you so much. 

[Laughter]

Jim Cramer.  Thank you so much.  Always good to talk to you

Speaker Pelosi.  Lovely to chat with you.  Thank you.