House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Republicans irresponsible and said they are in “total disarray” in an interview with MSNBC’s Joy Reid on Thursday. Pelosi panned the Republican package for coronavirus relief that includes a payroll tax cut, calling it a proposal that won’t pass Congress. Pelosi said the party is in “total disarray” and not basing their decisions on evidence, data or truth.
“What do you make of the fact that the sticking points for Republicans seem to be that they want a payroll tax cut which, as you know, would hurt social security? They’re not interested in keeping the plussed-up unemployment benefits. Do you have a sense of what it is they want?” Reid asked.
“I don’t think they know what they want,” Pelosi answered. “They’re in total disarray. They distort the facts and the science so they’re not basing their decisions on evidence, data or truth. Let’s sound an alarm right now. This is – we have gone beyond the pale. They’re irresponsible.”
Pelosi continued to refer to the pandemic as the “Trump virus” and called the president “the biggest failure practically in the history of our country.”
“Well, let me say this President has been the biggest failure practically in the history of our country,” the Speaker said. “A pandemic that is rolling, Trump virus I call it, is rolling like a freight train. It took nearly 100 days, just about 100 days to get the first one million. Just under 50 days to get to the second million. Just over 25 days to get to the third million and now, just, what, fourteen, seventeen days to get to the 4 million mark of people infected. Just think if he had thought that these ‘overrated’ tests weren’t overrated a long time ago, how many lives could have been saved.”
Joy Reid. Four million Americans tested positive for hospitalizations – have now tested positive for the coronavirus. Hospitalizations are soaring. ICU beds are running out in many states and more than 1,000 Americans died of COVID-19 yesterday alone. The crisis has meant that in the most recent period, 1.4 million Americans filed for unemployment, the first increase since March. And tomorrow, the extra $600 of enhanced unemployment benefits passed by Congress in March is set to expire. Senate Republicans have decided to wait until next week to unveil their proposed coronavirus recovery bill as if there’s no urgency at all.
Joining me is Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Thank you so much for being here today.
Speaker Pelosi. My pleasure.
Joy Reid. I want to get your – thank you so much – your response to Donald Trump suddenly declaring that he wants to be responsible when it comes to his convention regarding the coronavirus.
Speaker Pelosi. I think it’s a little too late for him to be responsible, but let me just first say congratulations to you on The ReidOut. How exciting. I love the name. I love the show, so –
Joy Reid. Thank you.
Speaker Pelosi. It’s nice to be here with you on your first week. I’m honored.
Joy Reid. Thank you.
Speaker Pelosi. What was he responsible about? What was he responsible about, his convention?
Joy Reid. He’s claiming that he wants to not pack people into the convention –
Speaker Pelosi. Oh, I see.
Joy Reid. Because you’ve got to be responsible and you can’t pack all those people together. I mean, he suddenly is worried about packing his conventioneers together in Jacksonville.
Speaker Pelosi. Well, let me say this President has been the biggest failure practically in the history of our country. A pandemic that is rolling, Trump virus I call it, is rolling like a freight train. It took nearly 100 days, just about 100 days to get the first one million. Just under 50 days to get to the second million. Just over 25 days to get to the third million and now, just, what, fourteen, seventeen days to get to the 4 million mark of people infected. Just think if he had thought that these ‘overrated’ tests weren’t overrated a long time ago, how many lives could have been saved.
But you said it very well, four million people, eighteen straight weeks of people filing for Unemployment Insurance, a time when people are – millions of children are food insecure, just so many people going to food banks who never thought they would, evictions imminent because the moratorium will end. People are hungry, they’re concerned about their housing, their jobs and the rest. And the Republicans are saying, ‘Well, let’s just wait around until Monday to see what we might be able to come to terms with among ourselves.’
Two months and seven – eight days ago we put forth The Heroes bill, very responsible, lean and mean, exactly what we needed to open up our economy by testing, testing, testing, rewarding our heroes with assistance to state and local government and money in the pockets of the American people in a very strong way. This all will expire in, like, a week.
Joy Reid. Yeah. The Democrats –
Speaker Pelosi. Unemployment Insurance, housing.
Joy Reid. Yeah. Well, the Democrats put forward a plan, as you’ve just said. You know, Mitch McConnell and the Republicans are fighting among themselves about what to put in it and whether they want to support Mr. Fauci, Dr. Fauci. What do you make of the fact that the sticking points for Republicans seem to be that they want a payroll tax cut which, as you know, would hurt social security? They’re not interested in keeping the plussed-up unemployment benefits. Do you have a sense of what it is they want?
Speaker Pelosi. No, we – I don’t think they know what they want. They’re in total disarray. They distort the facts and the science so they’re not basing their decisions on evidence, data or truth. Let’s sound an alarm right now. This is – we have gone beyond the pale. They’re irresponsible.
The fact – they were going to bring us something yesterday, then today, this morning, it was going to be announced. And then when it didn’t, we thought well, maybe tomorrow, we can work through the weekend and the rest because the Unemployment Insurance will expire, because the moratoria on mortgages and rents will expire because people are hungry.
And all they care about is what’s happening at the corporate boardroom table and what we’re concerned about was happening at people’s kitchen tables. All they care about is shoring up the stock market, we want to shore up – and Wall Street, we want to shore up the middle class, those who aspire to it and main street. It is a very big difference here, and I think that one of the reasons they can’t come forward with something is they really don’t intend to meet the needs of the American people, and they will be fully exposed.
Joy Reid. Are you concerned that, you know, Democrats, we assume, will pass a bill. There’s a CARES 5. There are all of these provisions that would provide more money for the American people. It seems like Republicans will at least accept the $1,200, if not more money. Do you think that another bill with all of the politics on the table for Republicans can actually pass the Senate? Are you having any negotiations with Steve Mnuchin? Are they talking to you too, as well as to the Republicans?
Speaker Pelosi. Yeah, we had our conversation in which time we thought when they visited the Capitol a couple days ago, which we thought that we would see on paper what they were proposing either Wednesday or Thursday. Now, they’re saying next Monday.
Joy Reid. Yeah. Before I let you go – I think you might need a glass of water – I apologize for asking one more question.
We know that John Lewis, that his body will soon be lying in state in the Capitol. I want to give you an opportunity to say something about the way that the Capitol will honor this man.
Speaker Pelosi. Later this evening, we will hear from John’s family, and they will give us the full array of the arrangements. It is appropriate for us to wait for their announcement, but they cannot announce that somebody will lie in state in the Capitol. That is up to the Majority Leader, Mr. McConnell, and me to make the announcement. He has been most cooperative in that.
So when the family makes its announcement later tonight as to the timing, we will have a ceremony in the Capitol as John Lewis lies in state, a civil rights icon, a treasure to us in the Congress for 33 years. And then for a period of time, the public will be able to pay respects to John as he lies on the forefront of the Capitol.
We have to change some of the plans because of the coronavirus, but, you know, John was fighting right up until the end, part of our putting together our Heroes Act. He was our hero; that’s for sure.
But again, it takes us back to our values and what brings us here. We’re here for America’s working families. That’s what John Lewis was always about, but that all of America’s working families would be considered.
So again, it’s a sad week for us because we lost John. It’s sad because we’re reaching four million people impacted and nearly 150,000 people dead from this pandemic, so many people out of work, much of which could have been prevented except for the delay, the denial and now the distortion of facts by this President.
And I can’t talk about John Lewis without talking about fairness and decency, and that’s what we owe the American people. Their lives, their livelihood and the life of our democracy is at stake.
We hope that as an honor to John Lewis, in this bill we will have the money to do our vote-by-mail, our vote-at-home provisions with, again, the opportunity for many more people to have obstacles removed as they vote in a way that they don’t have to choose between their health and their vote, but that they can do so. I think that would be an appropriate way for us right in the here and now to honor John Lewis.
Joy Reid. Yes, indeed. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, always great to have you on. Thank you so much for being here. We appreciate you being here on week one.
Speaker Pelosi. My pleasure.
Joy Reid. Thank you.