tv The David Rubenstein Show Peer to Peer Conversations Bloomberg April 20, 2019 9:00am-9:30am EDT
david: since you have been a leader in the house, you have dealt with three presidents. speaker pelosi: i completely and entirely respect the office of the president of united states. david: there was a tax cut in the first year of president trump's administration. speaker pelosi: this tax bill is a tax scam of the highest magnitude. david: would you call mr. mcconnell and say let's have coffee and talk about where things are going? speaker pelosi: i don't drink that much coffee. [laughter] david: you have been vilified by the republicans. speaker pelosi: once you get in that arena, you have to be prepared to take a punch. or prepared to throw a punch, too. >> would you fix your tie, please? david: well, people wouldn't recognize me if my tie was fixed, but ok. just leave it this way. alright. ♪
david: i don't consider myself a journalist. and nobody else would consider myself a journalist. i began to take on the life of being an interviewer even though i have a day job of running a private equity firm. how do you define leadership? whats hat makes somebody tick? how do you compare the relative pleasure of being the first speaker who is a woman to capturing it again and being the first speaker in 60 years to recapture the speakership? speaker pelosi: i have to say when i was running for leadership in congress, for speaker, the last thing i could ever say to someone was vote for me because we should have a woman. you just had to prove that you would do the best job. but when it turned out that i became the speaker, it was quite an overwhelming feeling that we
had broken a marble ceiling in our country. i like to tell the story that the first meeting i ever went to as leader, not yet speaker but leader, was president bush as president. and when i went into, was going to the white house for my first meeting as leader of the caucus, it was unlike any meeting i had been to before. in fact, it was unlike any meeting any woman had been to before in the white house, because there was a small meeting of the president, the leadership of the house and senate, democratic and republican. but i was going in there not as an appointment of the president, but actually from the power of my caucus. so, as i sat there, and president bush, ever gracious, welcoming. all of a sudden, i was squeezed in on my chair.
it was so crowded in my chair that i could barely acknowledge what he was saying. i was so distracted by what was happening. and i realized that sitting there on my seat ith mwere susan b. anthony, sojourner truth, alice paul, right there on that chair. i could hear them say, at last, e a eat at the table. [applause] david: so -- [applause] speaker pelosi: and then, they were gone. my first thought was, we want more. [laughter] we want more. david: since you have been a leader in the house, you have dealt with three presidents. president bush, president obama, and president trump. so, could you compare their relative different styles? [laughter] david: how are they different? speaker pelosi: well, they aren't relative. [laughter] speaker pelosi: i thank you for
the question. i think it is an important one from a historical standpoint. here is the thing. president -- first of all, i completely and entirely respect the office of the president of the united states. and i respect the people who voted to elect a president of the united states. we worked very closely with president bush even though i disagreed with him mightily on the war in iraq. but, that did not prevent us from working together. president obama, of course, as a democratic president, we had a very special relationship. but you still, even though it is your own party, still have your differences of approach or timing or whatever. david: president trump? [laughter] speaker pelosi: i pray for our country every day, i always have. [laughter] speaker pelosi: but, i do think that there is something to be
said for experience, knowledge, judgment, and surrounding yourself with people who know -- i would say to people when they want to run for office, what is your vision for our country? why are you, what is your why? why should we be attracted to what you have to say? what do you know about your subject, your focus, whatever your vision is or your connection is to the public, that in between, your judgment is guided by evidence, data, facts, truth, knowledge. and, that is a place where we have some work to be done. david: he has not tweeted anything really negative about you and he has not given you a name. do you feel left out? [laughter] speaker pelosi: we have a courteous relationship. as i say, i respect the office that he holds.
the fact that the public, he is the president of the united states. let me just say this about -- i do think that there are some areas we can work together and perhaps that is why we still have a good, shall we say, courteous relationship. lowering the cost of prescription drugs and building the infrastructure of america are two areas where i have had conversations with the president. so, it is keeping the rapport courteous, keeping it respectful. on those two priorities, the president has assured me that that is something he is willing to do. that is the word i would use. david: you had a well-publicized meeting with the president right before the government shutdown with chuck schumer. and the president said he would take the blame if there was a government shutdown. speaker pelosi: proudly, proudly. david: were you surprised that later on, that was not the case?
speaker pelosi: a shutdown of government should never happen, especially one that happens over a period of time. [applause] speaker pelosi: 800,000 people did not get paychecks. whether they came to work or not, they did not get paychecks. so, to your point of did i think it was going to end up that we would open up government by the president signing the bill that we sent him? yes. and you know why? because of public sentiment. abraham lincoln said public sentiment is everything. with it, you can accomplish almost anything. without it, almost nothing. and the public sentiment was there, the stories of the families, the concerns of people who needed the services. david: what is the reason democrats do not want to fund the wall? speaker pelosi: we are not talking about funding the wall. we are about funding a campaign,
a pause line. there was nothing serious, scientific evidence-based that a wall was what was going to be the best way to secure our borders. we are all there to secure our borders. but just because the president said in a speech he was going to have a wall and mexico was going to pay for it, he seemed to forget that part of it, but even if they did, a wall is not what is needed there. from the standpoint of sea to shining sea, big, tall wall, impenetrable, it is not how we relate to other countries, other people. if you want me to, i will start talking about ronald reagan and what he thinks about walls and immigrants. really, we have to be a model to women, do not fear any of this. have no fear. know your own power. be yourself. go out there and fight the fight because you know your why.
david: in the old days, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, freshman members of congress were generally thought to be quiet for a few terms. they were not supposed to say very much. that seems to have changed. is it difficult to manage the caucus when you have freshmen members who get so much attention? is that a problem? speaker pelosi: no, it is a joy. it is invigoration. it is what our founders intended. elections every two years. [applause] speaker pelosi: i have to say this because i am really proud of it. in the congress of the u.s., this congress, we have over 100 women members of congress serving at the same time. over 100 members. [applause] david: there was a tax cut in the first year of president trump's administration that the
democrats opposed. now that you are in control of the house, are you going to try to reverse that or do anything to pass any tax legislation this congress? speaker pelosi: the ways and means committee will review the, what we do about taxes in a larger sense. so many people come to us, whether it is institutions of higher learning, whether it is other philanthropics -- we can only just fix this. we can only just fix this. we can only just fix this. we are saying we have to really look at the whole tax bill and see what the decisions will be made as we go forward. it is important to note this, however. this tax bill is a tax scam of the highest magnitude. this has to be revisited not just because of the unfairness of it, but also the impact it has on the budget. could we have worked together to to say what is an appropriate
lowering of the corporate rate and the impact on the economy? but no, speed of light, dark of night, pass a bill with no hearings, so the ramifications were not well known to the american people. david: what is it like to get along with the senate side? the senate side is controlled by the republicans. can you just call mitch mcconnell and say let's have coffee and talk about how things are going? speaker pelosi: i don't drink that much coffee. [laughter] david: well, let's sit down and have some chocolate or something like that. speaker pelosi: maybe a box of chocolate as a welcome gift. i said to him, my kids and i -- my husband, we just made an agreement the other day that if someone gives you a box of chocolate as an act of sincerity, you open it and start eating the chocolate. otherwise, they think you are going to regift it. [laughter] david: so -- speaker pelosi: since you mentioned chocolate, i could not resist.
it is one of my passions. [laughter] i have a good rapport with leader mcconnell because we were both appropriators. we can get along, even though we have our major differences. david: in recent years, you have been vilified by the republicans and people of the right. and i think in the most recent campaign, 132,000 ads were run just using your name. does this elevate you? [laughter] david: has this been personally difficult to be so vilified, or do you take pride in the fact they recognize you are very powerful? speaker pelosi: my goddaughter told me -- katie peterson. hi, katie! katie sent me something on my phone that i read this morning. it said "your power is the reason your opponents come after you" or something like that. i do believe, and this is what i say, because i have to set an example to other women not to
be too shy about things and assert yourself and take credit, and the rest of that. but here is the thing, if i were not effective, they would not be doing these ads. if they did not have -- [applause] speaker pelosi: they fear me because i am a master legislator. i just know how to do this because that is what i was doing. i was legislating. i have a following in the country that supports me at the grassroots level and across the board, and so, they have to take me down. so i have to show other women we are in an arena. you are in the arena. once you get in that arena, you have to be prepared to take a punch. or prepared to throw a punch, too. but really, we have to be a model to women. do not fear any of this. have no fear. know your own power. be yourself.
go out there and fight the fight because you know your why. you know why you decided to get into the arena. you know what you care about. you know how to get a job done. and you can draw support from other people. and that is why they come after me. if i were not effective, they would not take out 132,000 ads against me during the campaign. but, we won a very decisive victory. [laughter] [applause] david: now, many people in the democratic party are running for president. you probably know all of them. speaker pelosi: yes. david: and, you would never consider running for president, correct? you never considered it, or did you? speaker pelosi: no. i did not consider running for congress. [laughter] david: these people, many of them have positions -- speaker pelosi: that does not mean people have not suggest it. -- suggested it. but, anyway. david: i assume they come by and ask you for your advice. you are not going to support
anybody before the party selects their nominees. will you endorse anybody before the party picks somebody? speaker pelosi: it is not my intention at this time. let me just say i endorse all of them, let me endorse everyone by saying they bring such values, such strategic thinking, such optimism and confidence about what they believe into the discussion. but i do think -- don't tell anybody i told you this -- but i do think the person who will emerge will be those who connect. remember i said this. vision, knowledge and judgment, strategic thinking, planning, but who connects? david: president trump and his administration negotiated a revise nafta agreement known as usmca, but it has to be approved by the congress before it goes into effect. do you think the house of representatives will approve that deal? speaker pelosi: we have to see it first. i voted for the original nafta.
i took a lot of heat for doing it, and i had a lot of disappointments that didn't live up to certain aspects of it, but four things we have to make a judgment about -- one, what are the environmental considerations? the workers' rights in both countries, that is important. and members are concerned about how pharmaceuticals are treating it. those three things. but whatever is agreed to in those three areas, the most important element of a trade agreement is enforcement. if you don't have enforcement, you ain't got nothing, because it is just a conversation. there is just a list of things. i felt like this would be easy. david: it is. speaker pelosi: no, no, i meant the trade agreement. david: ok. [laughter] david: oh. the questions are easy. not that hard. speaker pelosi: i will leave you with a thought. this country is the greatest country that ever was.
david: sala burton was a good friend of yours. and when she was on her deathbed, she asked you to run for congress. had you ever thought of running for congress and what diyour children say when you said you were going to run for congress, and your husband? speaker pelosi: here is the thing. i had no interest. in our family in baltimore, maryland, my father was in congress, a member from baltimore. when i was in the first grade, he became the mayor of baltimore. when i was at trinity college, he was still the mayor of baltimore. it was the only life that we knew. we were born into a family that was devoutly catholic, fiercely patriotic americans.
in love with america. proud of our italian-american heritage. staunchly democratic. and that connection between our faith and how we exercised our belief in the gospel of matthew, when i was hungry, or how we just treated people with a spark of divinity. each of them having worthy of respect for all of god's children. that is how we were raised, to have responsibility to other people. that is what our parents instilled in us. but i never, ever thought i would ever want to run for office. nor did anyone else around me. however, i did volunteer in the democratic party to support other candidates. i never knew that sala would want me to run for office. but when she did, i was ready. so i say to people, know your power. women, know your power. count everything you have done, including being a mom, maybe starting with know your power, be yourself.
authenticity is everything. sincerity and authenticity is everything. be yourself. and be ready. be ready. david: you got elected. you had three children. living in washington then, and you said to them, as i understand it, we can all now live together in the house. speaker pelosi: in georgetown. yeah. david: what did your children say about that idea? speaker pelosi: they said, mother -- first, let me just say this, sala says to me, you have to make me feel better if i run. i said i have never even thought about running for office. i'm shy. you know? [laughter] speaker pelosi: so, i go home and talk to my kids. i only had one at home, alexandra. i said, alexandra, mommy, mommy has the opportunity to run for congress. i don't know if i will win, i
just have the opportunity to run for congress. i love my life. i love being here with you. so if you want me to stay, it would be easier if you are in college, one more year in college, but if you want me to be here. otherwise, i will be gone three nights a week of the week. tuesday, wednesday, thursday of the week, so any answer is fine. i honestly mean that. yes, no, i'm happy either way. mother -- so i knew i was in trouble right then. [laughter] speaker pelosi: mother, get a life. [laughter] speaker pelosi: this was 30 years ago. i never heard the expression before. get a life. my teenage girl would not want -- what teenage girl would not want her mother gone three nights a week? [laughter] david: so? speaker pelosi: so when i go to washington, i said we could all live together and this and that. they were like, mother, we love our siblings.
not only do we not want to live with you, we don't want to live with each other. [laughter] speaker pelosi: they are in college, so they live with their friends. so, you're in congress, we're in college. why don't you just forget we are in the same city? [laughter] speaker pelosi: boo-hoo. boo-hoo. david: it must have been a thrill. your father and mother were still alive when you are elected. they came to see you sworn in. is that right? speaker pelosi: my father was on the floor of the house when i was sworn in. that was pretty exciting. that was pretty exciting. then, he died a few months later. i was so lucky he was there to see that. and my mother was, too. david: you obviously enjoy the job. how many more years may you do this? 10, 15, 20? any limit? speaker pelosi: you think that i am going to -- recently, jerry brown said to me there is nothing as liberating as term limits. [laughter]
speaker pelosi: you just do what you do. david: so you might do this -- speaker pelosi: i'm on a mission. i'm not on a timetable. i do have some other things i want to do in life. david: your proudest achievement you have legislatively, would that be the affordable care act that you kind of shepherded through the house? speaker pelosi: yes. the affordable care act, david, this is like a pillar. social security, medicare-medicaid, the affordable care act. not only 20 million more people have access to health care, which we were very proud of, but everybody in our country getting better benefits whether it is no pre-existing condition, limitation on access, or ending annual caps, lifetime caps. being a woman, no longer a pre-existing medical condition. i can tell you as a mother of five -- i thought it was a sign of strength.
they considered it a pre-existing condition. speaker pelosi: so, final question. what would you want the american people to know about nancy pelosi? speaker pelosi: my why, in terms of why i went from the kitchen to the congress, from housewife to house speaker. my why is the one in five children who live in poverty. having five children of my own, knowing the love and concern and all that we give for our children, to me, it is a disservice to every child in america to not be sure every child in america has an opportunity. i just leave you with this thought, this country is the greatest country that ever was. it can withstand anything, but we all have a responsibility. thomas payne said times have found us. the times have found us now to channel the energy, respect diversity, the differences of
opinion in our country, and always keep taking it back to the oneness. e pluribus unum. what i want them to know about me is the reason i left home, the reason i get up every morning to go into the fight is the one in five children who live in poverty. david: i would like to thank you for a very interesting conversation. [applause] ♪
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