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

Oct 28, 2020
Press Release
Contact: Speaker’s Press Office,
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Ayman Mohyeldin on MSNBC’s LIVE to discuss COVID relief talks and other news of the day.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:  
Ayman Mohyeldin.  Joining us now is the Speaker of the House, Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of California.  Madam Speaker, thank you so much for joining us.  I appreciate your time.  We have a lot of ground I would like to cover.  
Let me begin with the subject of coronavirus.  It is on the rise in this country, unfortunately, once again.  Europe, as well – it is in lockdown mode.  The President, though, showing he does not think it is a problem.  The markets are falling.  I’m curious to get your thoughts on the efforts Congress and your team are doing.  Are you working with other leaders in the Capitol or around the country to formulate a national strategy? 
Speaker Pelosi.  Our national strategy has been onboard since the middle of May.  It's called the Heroes Act, and its main purpose was to crush the virus.  Crush the virus, honor our heroes – our health care workers, our first responders, police and fire, sanitation, transportation, food workers, our teachers, our teachers, our teachers.  To keep our children safe in school.  That was five – more than five months ago.  
Instead, the Administration and Mitch McConnell said, ‘Let's take a pause.’  Well, the virus didn't take a pause and now we're in worse shape.  And, again, what the President of the United States has done is almost sinful in terms of how he has failed miserably to address the health needs of the American people, calling it a hoax and the rest.  And the Republicans in Congress have been enablers of that failed policy as well.  
So, now, hopefully, what the President cares a lot about is the stock market, and as he sees the market react to the spread of the virus and sees the market react to the fact that we do not have an agreement, which could inject resources into the economy, hopefully now he will come to the table in a serious way to crush the virus.  You must crush the virus.  
And again, this weekend, his Chief of Staff confessed that they had no intention of controlling the virus.  It's really very, very sad.  It's a total failure on the President's part.  And we will not give up until it is crushed, until we address the lives, saving the lives, the livelihood and the life of our democracy.  
Ayman Mohyeldin.  You say it's the President's fault.  I’m curious, from your vantage point, who do you think is actually calling the shots on the Republican side across the table from you?  Because I understand you're negotiating with Steve Mnuchin, or you were at least, up until some point.  The President says he wants a deal.  Mitch McConnell saying he can't get his Members vote on it.  Who do you think is actually calling the shots within the Republican negotiations here? 
Speaker Pelosi.  All I know is that Donald Trump is the President of the United States.  He has sent his representative to the table to negotiate.  We continue to exchange paper.  We haven't stopped working because the President said it's going to be until after the election.  We need to address the health needs and the lives of the American people.  We need to put money in people's pockets.  We need to honor, we need to honor our heroes.  And we need to do it as soon as possible and we must make it retroactive when we do.  
However, I can only say that if we're negotiating with the President, then it's up to him to bring aboard the Republican Members of the United States Senate, because we're not going to then negotiate with them.  
This is simple.  It's really easy.  Crush the virus.  Pay attention to the science, as the President has not done up until now.  And again, we have had this plan – since March 4th, we have been talking.  Testing, testing, testing.  It's been in all of our legislation, but they have not implemented it.  They have not executed.  Now, we're writing the language in a way that they have no choice but to execute and that's what we're waiting to get response back from them on.  
But there are answers to this.  The President has just decided to ignore it, call it a hoax, say it's going to be over magically, miraculously.  Well, the miracle will be the science that will produce the vaccine and the therapies, and we're eager for that to happen, but it's not to take the place of stopping the spread in the first place.  
Ayman Mohyeldin.  So, as you very well know, Madam Speaker, the Senate is in recess until November 9th.  There's obviously no COVID relief bill in sight.  What gives you confidence that the Administration at all will be any more willing to get something done after Election Day? Perhaps even in a lame duck session? 
Speaker Pelosi.  Well, they say they will.  The President has said that he would.  But the fact is also that the President is very affected by the stock market.  He thinks that the 401(k) crowd is one that's going to re-elect him, and as long as the market is up, then he's okay.  And he considers that a measure of the strength of our economy.  And it is.  We want the market to be up.  
But now, it's [down] over 1500 points in the last three days because of the spread of the virus and because there is no agreement.  We can come to agreement on how to stop the spread of the virus, and, again, inject resources into our economy that will help people in their lives, but also inject demand, create jobs.  But everybody says we need, including the Chair of the Fed, who has said: if you do something that is bigger than needed, so be it, but don't do anything less than what is needed.  
Ayman Mohyeldin.  Let me switch topics for a moment and talk about the election.  The President says he wants a winner declared on Tuesday night.  Watch this.  
President Trump.  It would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on November 3rd.  Instead of counting ballots for two weeks, which is totally inappropriate, and I don't believe that that's by our laws.  I don't believe that…  
Hopefully, the few states remaining that want to take a lot of time after November 3rd to count ballots, that won't be allowed by the various courts.  
Ayman Mohyeldin.  Madam Speaker, what do you do, and what can you specifically do if the President says at 11:00 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday night, ‘I have won, and counting any more ballots is cheating.’  If he makes that declaration, what can you and anyone else do? 
Speaker Pelosi.  Well, I think everyone will recognize that the President should recognize a peaceful transfer of power, which is the American way.  The votes will be counted, as they come in.  That is to say, some states have said you can't start counting the ballots until all of the polls are closed.  For example, Michigan passed that in their legislature.  So, the votes will be counted until they're finished being counted. 
What the President is doing, though, is just to gin up his base so that he can save face when he suffers a defeat that is coming toward him.  I don't – let me say it another way.  On January 20th, 2021, Joe Biden will be inaugurated President of the United States.  The states will count the votes that they have in a timely fashion.  And again, if the President wins in that format, then so be it, then he's President. We don't anticipate that that will be the case, and neither does he.  And that's why he's trying to, as I say, stir the pot so that people will think that he really won, when he didn't.  
Of all of the things that the President has done, and they have been horrible, undermining the Constitution, degrading our environment, denigrating who we are as a people, undervaluing who we are in terms of our priorities as a country, taking children out of the arms of their parents, again, dimming the bright light that we are of hope to the world, of all of the things, the very idea, and again, ignoring that nearly 250,000 people have died from a virus that many of whom could have been saved, the list goes on and on. 
But the easiest thing for him to do is to stand up like a man and accept the results of an election of the American people.  For him to make these kinds of statements shows his lack of patriotism, his undermining of our elections, while he allows foreign countries like his friend Putin to undermine the integrity of our election.  He himself is doing it as well.  But let's forget about him. 
Let's get on with the future.  Let's have the results counted properly, that everybody's vote is counted as cast.  Let's unify the country as we go forward.  Joe Biden is a great unifier.  He respects everyone in our country, and his election will be a great accomplishment of people turning out, standing in line when the Republicans have refused to put the money up there to have more polling places out of respect for the American people. 
Ayman Mohyeldin.  So, let's talk about that for a moment –
Speaker Pelosi.  Whether they vote for Donald Trump or Joe Biden, it doesn't matter.  We respect every one of them who votes, and we should not make it more dangerous for them to vote.  So, again, we're at a place where we have to get ready for the future, in a very positive and unifying way. 
Ayman Mohyeldin.  Let me ask you about the Democrats for a moment.  You are obviously and widely considered one of the most politically astute minds in the country.  If you could pick two states for Joe Biden to campaign in this weekend, which would they be? 
Speaker Pelosi.  Well, I always like to have a guarantee, so I would say I would campaign in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.  I would make it three so that we have a big strong victory.  I know there are those who want to spread it around.  You're asking me; I'm a former chair of the California Democratic Party.  I am attracted to public service because of the issues and for the children.  But I do thrive on campaigning.  And I would say those three states. 
Ayman Mohyeldin.  Let me end, if I can, on Mitch McConnell for a moment.  The Majority Leader, the Senate Majority Leader is telling The New York Times, ‘I certainly didn't expect to have three Supreme Court Justices.  At the risk of tooting my own horn, look at the majority leaders since LBJ and find another one who was able to do something as consequential as this.’ 
I'm wondering what your response is, especially since, as you mentioned, he could not gather his own party to support a COVID relief bill for the millions of Americans who need that help desperately?
Speaker Pelosi.  Mitch McConnell is not a force for good in our country.  And if he thinks it's a source of pride to rush a Justice into the Supreme Court in a way that dishonors the Court and dishonors Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as a matter of fact, and he calls that an accomplishment.  He is not in any way – shouldn't use his name in the same sentence with Lyndon Baines Johnson who did so much for our country.
They’re rushing that person in there so that she can be there, not this Tuesday, but the following Tuesday, to repeal the Affordable Care Act and not only that, to be there as the President said, for the Courts to decide on certain aspects of the election, to undermine our democracy, to overturn the Affordable Care Act and the benefits contained therein, including the pre-existing condition [protection].  
And if he think that's a source of pride, it just shows you why he is not a force for good and he should not even beg comparison, instead of big contrast with Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Ayman Mohyeldin.  All right, Madam Speaker, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, thank you so much for your time this afternoon.  I greatly appreciate it. 
Speaker Pelosi.  My pleasure.  Thank you.  Stay safe. 
Ayman Mohyeldin.  Thank you.  You too.
# # #