Transcript of Pelosi Interview on CBS This Morning with Gayle King

September 25, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Gayle King on CBS This Morning to discuss the legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and other news of the day.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks: 

Gayle King.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is part of this morning's ceremony at the Capitol.  She and Justice Ginsburg were friends.  Madam Speaker Pelosi, thank you so much for joining us.  Listen, we are all mourning the loss of your friend.  So, I can't imagine what it was like for those of you who actually knew her.  I want to take a second to think about her and talk about her for just a second.  What have you lost as a friend, and what have we lost as a nation? 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, thank you for your attention to the fact that she will be the first woman to lie in state in the Capitol.  When she does so today, she will be lying on the catafalque, the base that was built to hold Abraham Lincoln's body, so appropriate for her and her fight for equality in our country. 

I just want to tell this story because I think it's – nobody in our country did more for the advancement of women in terms of women's equality than Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Madam Justice.  We honored her and the other women Justices a few years ago in the Capitol on Women's History Month.  She spoke for the Justices, and she told the story of a woman, Belva Lockwood, a New Yorker, as Leader Schumer keeps reminding me, a New Yorker. 

In 1876, she tried to argue cases before the Supreme Court, to qualify for that. The Court turned her down six to three.  There were nine Justices then, too.  Six to three.  She didn't take no for an answer.  She lobbied Congress, and she – for three years and then Congress passed a law that said if you meet the qualifications, even if you're a woman, you must be accepted at the court.  And I read you, ‘Women who possess the necessary qualifications must be admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court.’

Then Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that day, ‘It is my favorite example of how sometimes the Congress is more in tune with changing times and the expansion of the idea of equality than the Court is.’  Over 125 years later, in the Court, the Court decided in the Lilly Ledbetter case against women in the workplace, against women in the workplace, over 125 years later.  Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the dissent, wrote the dissent.  Her dissent became the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, signed into law, the first bill signed by President Barack Obama. 

Gayle King.  Yeah. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Again, the Congress was ahead of the Court in being attuned to the expansion of equality for women in our country.  That was so important. 

Gayle King.  She was so ahead of her time in so many ways.  There are very big shoes to fill.  President Trump has narrowed it down it seems to two candidates.  He said he'll make the announcement tomorrow.  We have Judges Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa.  What are your thoughts on their – on those two options?  They're on his short list it seems. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, my thought is the following, it's very important to know that the reason they were perched for this within just a couple of hours after the announcement of her passing, the Majority Leader McConnell said we're going to take this up and vote on it, which is so inappropriate – without going into that.  What is important for everyone to know in America is what it means to them. 

This rush to appoint someone to be there in time for the November 10th arguments against the – before the Court, will make the case, the Administration will make the case against the Affordable Care Act.  So, if anybody in your family has a pre-existing condition, that benefit will be gone.  If any of your children are on your health care plan, that will be gone – your adult children, that will be gone.  If you're a woman, the Affordable Care Act eliminated the idea that being a woman is a pre-existing medical condition.

Gayle King.  But Madam Speaker, they always say, he who has the votes, has the power.  Don't you think the Democrats would do the same thing if the situation was reversed?

Speaker Pelosi.  No, no. 

Gayle King.  You do not?

Speaker Pelosi.  That is absolutely not true. 

Gayle King.  You don't? 

Speaker Pelosi.  This is totally, completely inappropriate and counter to what they said when Justice Scalia passed.  But, it's no use getting into their hypocrisy. 

What we have to make sure people know, they must vote.  They must vote early so that the message, their voices, their vote, that that message comes clearly. 

All of the polling shows that people do not want the Affordable Care Act overturned. 

Gayle King.  That is true.  People don't want –

Speaker Pelosi.  Republicans are misrepresenting that they support the pre-existing condition benefit – which they voted over 60 times –  

Gayle King.  The vote show that's 62 percent of Americans wish that there would be no decision made until after the election.  That does not appear to be the case.  So as –

Speaker Pelosi.  I just want people to know what the case is because, if the Republicans insist on going forward, then there has to be a price to pay.  President Lincoln, back to Lincoln ––

Gayle King.  Well, last week you said –

Speaker Pelosi.  President Lincoln said public sentiment is everything.  I think the public sentiment must be heard. 

Gayle King.  We heard that.  You had said last week that you have arrows in your quiver.  Do you still have arrows in your quiver at this point?  The clock is really ticking here. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, I want to tell you something, Stephen Colbert said that – that I have to upgrade my munitions; arrows, they're too ancient a weapon.

[Laughter]

Gayle King.  I heard him say that.

Speaker Pelosi.  It’s a figure of speech, but the fact is, is that this is about protecting the American people, their health, at a time when they now have to choose – the President wants them to choose between their health and their vote.  That's just so wrong, which just is another error. 

Again, this – the election is coming up, 40 days from yesterday.  From the Catholic faith and other faith, 40 is fraught with meaning, 40 hours, 40 days, 40 years in the desert.  It is – that means you have to make use of every day.  No underutilized resource.

Gayle King.  You have to make use of everyday.  You're right.  Tuesday is a big debate.  The first debate between the two of them, between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.  You had earlier suggested that you didn't think Biden should debate.  Do you still feel that way?

Speaker Pelosi.  I do.  Not that I don't think he'll be excellent.  I just think that the President has no fidelity to fact or truth, and actually in his comments the last few days, no fidelity to the Constitution of the United States. 

He and his henchmen are a danger with their comments, are a danger to our democracy.  I didn't want to give him, you know, why bother – you know, he doesn't tell the truth.  He isn't committed to our Constitution, but Joe Biden is right –

Gayle King.  But Speaker Pelosi, that's what people say is the problem.  Your language to some is just as egregious as what they're saying by calling the President's people henchmen.  Some could say that's just as insulting as what he's saying about you. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, I don't care what he says about me.  Every knock from him is a boost for me.  If he wants to help me raise money, he can keep knocking me.  But I’m speaking truth. 

Our Constitution is at the mercy of people who have no allegiance to the Constitution of the United States.  They have repeatedly demonstrated that.  Now that the President has said what he's said, it's become clear to the public –

Gayle King.  But even the Republicans are coming out and saying there will be a transition to power.  Are you really worried about that?  That there will be a peaceful transition to power?

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, let me say this, I'm hoping for the best.  I’m prepared for the worst.  And I'll also tell you this, the best antidote to their poison, the best antidote to their poison is to vote, to vote, to have your friends and neighbors vote, whoever you vote for. 

Gayle King.  Yes.

Speaker Pelosi.  Have it be a big, clear vote.  And there is no equivalent, my dear friend, Gayle, between what I am saying, speaking truth about them, than their mistaking cruelty for humor in whatever it is that they have to say. 

We're ready for the fight, and it is – it's an important time in our country.  For the President to undermine the elections is something horrible. 

I have three words – three names I want to name right now, Breonna Taylor, Breonna Taylor, Breonna Taylor. 

Gayle King.  Yes, yes.

Speaker Pelosi.  Let us hope that they will release the documents that led to the announcement, the unfortunate announcement.  Let us hope that there will be support in the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice –

Gayle King.  Her family will thank you for mentioning her name.  A lot of people are still speaking her name, Breonna Taylor.  She has not been forgotten. 

Speaker Pelosi.  She is in my heart. 

Gayle King.  She is in a lot of hearts. 

Thank you very much Madam Speaker for your time.  Thank you.

Speaker Pelosi.  My pleasure.  Thank you.  Lovely to see you.