Transcript of Pelosi Weekly Press Conference Today
Contact: Ashley Etienne/Henry Connelly, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi held her weekly press conference today in the Capitol Visitor Center. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
Leader Pelosi. Good morning. Good morning. We meet today, a very sad moment for our American people. On Monday, the entire world witnessed President Trump cower in the presence of Putin. I sadly beseech President Trump to apologize to the American people for his disgraceful, dangerous and damaging behavior with Putin in Helsinki.
I call on my Republican colleagues in Congress to join Democrats in that request for an apology. President Trump obviously seemed frightened in the presence of Putin. What was he afraid of? What is Putin blackmailing President Trump with personally, politically or financially?
Whatever it is, it is a level of blackmail that the American people cannot afford. Putin appears to be President Trump's puppeteer, and that day in Helsinki he shined the light on the strings.
Reports about the promises made in the private meeting are even more alarming, and in addition to that, the outrageous suggestion of handing former Ambassador McFaul over for Russian questioning. What?
I thank our House Democrats on the Intelligence Committee who moved to subpoena the interpreter present in the Trump-Putin meeting. Of course, the Republicans rejected that. That the President would even entertain the idea of subjecting our diplomats to Putin's thuggery: that is an abuse of power.
As Senator McCain said, the press conference with Putin in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American President in memory. I come here with great sorrow, but with the utmost respect for the people who voted for President Trump, but President Trump's actions have degraded the dignity of the Office of the President, diminished the respect for our great nation throughout the world, and disregarded the obligation we have to our Founders.
What is at stake is the integrity of our elections. That is why we call upon House GOP to respect the Mueller investigation and to prevent President Trump from weakening sanctions on Russia for disrupting our elections.
I come here again to talk about what we need to do. We need to stop the President from weakening sanctions on Russia. We need to respect the Mueller investigation, as I mentioned. And we have an opportunity now for us, right now, a chance on the Floor of the House to defend our democracy.
This week, House Republicans brought to the Floor an appropriations package that actually eliminates funding for the Election Assistance Commission. These are grants for states to enhance their election equipment to counter cyberattacks and defend against future intrusions.
Democrats offered a motion in committee to force a vote to increase funding for the election security grants. It was dismissed by the Republicans as unworthy. Democrats will continue to push for real action to protect our democracy from Russia's assault.
As we speak, we are providing Republicans with another opportunity, another vote on the Quigley amendment to restore vital election security grants. That is happening now, I must say. Because they changed the time I may have to excuse myself after my statement.
Democrats had hoped that instead of spending time on all of this, that there would be a stipulation of fact that as the Intelligence Community has said that the Russians disrupted our election and they continue to try to do so.
They also contend, some of them, that President Trump was aware that President Putin ordered those assaults.
Instead of this, we had hoped we would be working in a bipartisan way with President Trump. As a candidate, President Trump promised some things. For example, people are concerned about the high cost of prescription drugs. During the campaign he said, ‘We're going to negotiate like crazy.’ Apparently ‘like crazy’ means we're not going to negotiate at all. When it came to stand up to the drug companies, he cowered, something he does, refusing to enable the Secretary of HHS to negotiate down drug prices and sending pharmaceutical stocks soaring. That very day.
The night he won the election, President Trump promised we're going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, ‘second-to-none.’ He had repeatedly talked about infrastructure, but that night: ‘build our infrastructure second-to-none.’ We welcome that opportunity to work in a bipartisan way. Largely the infrastructure debate is largely bipartisan. But almost two years later Congress still hasn't seen a big, bold infrastructure bill, which we could work in a bipartisan way to enact, creating millions of good-paying jobs.
President Trump promised to drain the swamp, but he has turned it into a cesspool at the expense of the water our children drink, the air they breathe, the rights of America's consumers, the integrity of our American democracy and health and economic security of the American people.
Democrats are here to offer A Better Deal for the people with Better Jobs, Better Wages, and a Better Future.
Now I'm going to have to be excused because they have moved up the vote until now.
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