Transcript of Pelosi Interview on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 – Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat down with Anderson Cooper on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 to discuss the attack on Paul Pelosi, the midterm elections and the state of democracy.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:  
Anderson Cooper.  First of all, I’m so sorry for all that’s happened.  How is your husband doing?  What does his recovery look like?
Speaker Pelosi.  Well, thank you.  Thank you for asking and your comment.  He’s doing okay.  He is – it’s a long haul.  But he knows he has to pace himself.  He’s, he’s such a gentleman that he’s not complaining.  But he’s also knowing that it’s a long haul.  He’s so concerned about the traumatic effect on our children and our grandchildren.  And we’re concerned about the traumatic effect on him.  But again, he’s on a good path with excellent care from San Francisco General and his health care providers.
Anderson Cooper.  Has he been able to talk to you about what he was thinking when he woke up and found this person in the room?
Speaker Pelosi.  We haven’t quite had that conversation, because any revisiting of it is really traumatizing.  It was hard, and one of the hardest things all week was to go back into the house for him – in the entrance, which is of course where he was hit.
Anderson Cooper.  Where the attack took place. 
Speaker Pelosi.  And of course, upstairs in the bedroom, where that person made his entrance, shall we say?  But – so we haven’t – and the doctors had said, you know, we don’t want him to watch the news.  We don’t want him to be revisiting a lot of this, at least not now, because it will add to the trauma.  And the operation was a success, but it’s only one part of the recovery.  The dramatic, drastic head injury.  It takes some time.
Anderson Cooper.  Have you been able to listen to the 911 call?
Speaker Pelosi.  No.  I haven’t been able to listen to that or the body cam, any of that.  No.  I imagine when it is in the public domain is when I will have a chance to see it.  But even then, the –
Anderson Cooper.  Do you want to hear it?
Speaker Pelosi.  I don’t think so.  I don’t think so.  But I don’t know if I’ll have to.  I just don’t know.  That’s all matter on the legal side of things.
Anderson Cooper.  There are obviously a lot of details in the affidavit, but I mean, had your husband not had the presence of mind to call 911 and be able to call 911, I mean, there’s no telling what would’ve happened.
Speaker Pelosi.  He was cool.  And Paul’s cool.  He was cool.  He called, and with enough information, but not too much information, because the guy was very threatening.  He was very big, I don’t know if you can see that, he’s very big – 6’4,” 260.
Anderson Cooper.  The assailant?
Speaker Pelosi.  Hmm?
Anderson Cooper.  The assailant?
Speaker Pelosi.  The assailant.  And he was right there, you know, just like a few feet away from Paul hearing all of this.  So he had to – and he saved his life, Paul saved his own life with that call, because that really gave enough information to go –
Anderson Cooper.  Had the 911 operator not been –
Speaker Pelosi.  Right.
Anderson Cooper.  You know, figured it out –
Speaker Pelosi.  God bless her, yeah, for that and then took it from one level of concern to another, and therefore, the police came.  And that’s what got the police there.
Anderson Cooper.  Where were you when you when you got the news?
Speaker Pelosi.  Well, I was sleeping in Washington, D.C.  I had just gotten in the night before from San Francisco.  And the – I hear the doorbell ring, and I think, it’s five something – I look up, I see it’s five.  Who – it must be the wrong apartment.  No.  It rings again, and then, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang on the door.  So I run to the door, and I was very scared.  I see the Capitol Police.  And they said, ‘We have to come in to talk to you.’  And I’m thinking my children, my grandchildren – I never thought it would be Paul because, you know, I knew he wouldn’t be out and about, shall we say, and so they came in. 
At that time, we didn’t even know where he was or what his condition was.  We just knew that was an assault on him in our home.  And now they were taking them to a hospital which turned out to be San Francisco General, which is a leading Trauma Center.  Thank God they went there.  It wasn’t the closest, we have hospitals a few blocks away.  It wasn’t the closest, but it was the right place to go for that.
Anderson Cooper.  He was actually struck in the head with the hammer. 
Speaker Pelosi.  Right.  On the top in two places.  And that’s pretty awful.  That’s pretty awful.  But the good news was when he came – when he had the operation, and we were blessed by the health care professionals at San Francisco General.  They told us it had not pierced his brain, which is what could be deadly or worse.
Anderson Cooper.  So the hammer had not actually cracked –
Speaker Pelosi.  Oh no it had cracked.  Well what they had to do was they had to take off the skull, reshape it, put it back so it didn’t scratch or pierce the brain.  It’s pretty – it’s a pretty serious operation –
Anderson Cooper.  There’s always concern about swelling also in the brain.
Speaker Pelosi.  Always concern, the hematomas, all the rest of that.  But my son Paul told me that when he – see, I got on the plane right away to go, to come to California, but he was now out of the operation.  And Paul [Jr.] said, ‘Mommy’s on her way here,’ and Paul said – the first thing he said, ‘Oh your mother is going to be very happy, because the Ravens won last night.’
Anderson Cooper.  That’s what your husband said. 
Speaker Pelosi.  Yes. 
Anderson Cooper.  Out of the operation.
Speaker Pelosi.  We – Baltimore, you know.  Our Baltimore connection.  So we thought, well okay, he’s with it.  He remembers they won and obviously he knows my, after the 49ers, my dedication to the Ravens.
Anderson Cooper.  You were the intended target. 
Speaker Pelosi.  Yeah.
Anderson Cooper.   The assailant has told the police, it’s in a sworn affidavit that he wanted to take you hostage, interrogate you, break your kneecaps with a hammer if you didn’t give him the answers that he wanted.
Speaker Pelosi.  For me, this is really the hard part because Paul was not the target.  And he’s the one who’s paying the price, I mean we all are, but he’s the one who’s really paying the price.  But it really – it’s really sad, because it is a flame that was fueled by misinformation and all the rest of that, which is most unfortunate.  It shouldn’t – it has no place in our democracy.
Anderson Cooper.  President Biden drew a line between what happened January 6th and the attack on your husband.  The President said, and I quote, ‘The assailant entered the home asking, ‘Where’s Nancy, where’s Nancy?’ – those were the very same words used by the mob when they stormed the United States Capitol on January 6th.’ 
Speaker Pelosi.  That’s right.  That’s right.
Anderson Cooper.  Do you draw that same line?
Speaker Pelosi.  Absolutely.  There’s no question.  It’s the same.  The same thing.  A copycat or whatever it happens to be inflamed by the same misrepresentation. 
But the fact is, right now, it’s time for healing.  We want the country to heal.  This is not a path that we can continue on.  And we want people to run for office, local, in every way.  And you can’t say to them you’re risking the safety of your families by going forward.  There are no guarantees of safety. 
I’m very pleased that in August we were able to reach a place where the Sergeant-at-Arms informed the Members of the House of an amount of money that they would have – $10,000 to – and have the Capitol Police come and evaluate what their needs were to make their homes safer, because there was a recognition when we’re gone, our families are home and, you know, that’s scary or even if we are home, but so we recognize that.  It was figured that that amount of money could do what it needed to do in homes.
Anderson Cooper.  But I mean, you have a large security detail, you have great protection around you. 
Speaker Pelosi.  Right.
Anderson Cooper.  If this can happen to someone in your family, it can happen to any Member of Congress’s family. 
Speaker Pelosi.  That’s right.
Anderson Cooper.  How does – no amount of security is going to stop that.  How does this stop?  How does this not happen again?
Speaker Pelosi.  Well you would think that there would be some level of responsibility.  But what – you see what the reaction is on the other side to this, to make a joke of it.  And really, that is traumatizing too, but nonetheless, forgetting them.  There has to be some healing process.  And Democrats and Republicans, you know, Member of Congress, anybody could be a target.  And we can’t – there’s no guarantee.  But we can – in our democracy, there is one party that is doubting the outcome of the election, feeding that flame and mocking in the violence that happens.  That has to stop. 
Anderson Cooper.  The former President of the United States Donald Trump, Elon Musk, others have spread stories casting doubt on what happened, fomenting conspiracy theories.  What do you have to say to them?
Speaker Pelosi.  It’s really sad for the country.  It’s really sad for the country that people of that high visibility would separate themselves from the facts and the truth in such a blatant way.  It’s really sad, and it is traumatizing to those affected by it.  They don’t care about that, obviously, but it’s destructive to the unity that we want to have in our country.  But I don’t have anything to say to them.  I mean, we have nothing, there would be no common ground to have any conversation with them.
Anderson Cooper.  Is there enough common ground as Americans to try to bridge this divide and lower the temperature?
Speaker Pelosi.  Yes.
Anderson Cooper.  Because, I mean, I think people on all sides would agree that it does not seem sustainable.
Speaker Pelosi.  No, I completely agree with you.  But I wouldn’t say on all sides.  Because the fact is, this is a one-sided assault on our democracy, an assault on the credibility and integrity of our elections and the rest.  There has to be some adult supervision on the Republican side, in order to say enough.  Enough.  But why not?  We need a strong Republican Party in our country.  I’ve said that over and over again.
Anderson Cooper.  You want a strong Republican Party?
Speaker Pelosi.  Absolutely.  GOP – a strong Republican Party has done great things for our country.  And they should take pride in that instead of yielding to a cult – to a thug, actually, the way I see it, but nonetheless, really to stay with the healing part of it.  I think that prayers, I mean, we have been receiving so many prayers, thousands of well wishers with prayers for Paul’s healing.  And I think prayers are a unifying force.  I also think that there are enough people who, while they may not legitimately be Republicans and I respect that are not a party to feeding flame of violence and disunity in our country.
Let me just say that it’s about time, you know, it’s a time for healing, as Ecclesiastes says.  It’s – Ecclesiastes says it’s time – there’s a time for everything.  And this is a time long overdue for healing, to do so in a prayerful and respectful way, to do so open to hearing each other, about the future of our country.  I do believe that our democracy is in danger because of what the others are saying about undermining elections even now as we go forward.  I think that if enough people in our country are aware of what that challenge is, it might change behavior on the other side.  But I do think that a good deal of healing has to come within the Republican Party itself.  And it’s not up to me to tell them how to shape themselves.  But, again, it is – to have them take pride in what they have been and what they have done for our country.
Anderson Cooper.  If the former president, Donald Trump, runs again, do you think that healing is possible?
Speaker Pelosi.  I’m really –  I’m just not in a place where I’m ready to talk about what comes next.  And tomorrow is a very big day for our country.  Our democracy is on the ballot, our planet is on the ballot, our values are on the ballot.
Anderson Cooper.  How concerned are you about tomorrow?
Speaker Pelosi.  As I said, I have heard from at least 50 of our candidates in races that are, shall we say, in some view, too close to call, in our view, ours.  And I feel optimistic, just depends on turnout.  And I’m a former party chair.  And I’m always about owning the ground and getting out the vote.  And I feel confident that we’re in that position.  Their races are close.  Some of them could go one way or another.  We could split it.  We’ll see.  But it’s up to the people,  And whatever happens, we will respect the results of the election.
Anderson Cooper.  I know – there’s obviously been a lot of discussion about whether you’d retire if Democrats lose the House.  I know you’re not going to answer that question.  So I’m not going to even ask that question. 
Speaker Pelosi.  Oh good, I’m glad.
Anderson Cooper.  But I will ask, can you confirm that you’ve made a decision about what you would do?
Speaker Pelosi.  That’s like asking the question, isn’t it?
Anderson Cooper.  No, I’m not asking what the decision is.  I’m just asking, have you looked ahead?  And have you made the decision in your mind, whatever that decision might be?
Speaker Pelosi.  Well, I have to say my decision will be affected about what happened the last week or two.
Anderson Cooper.  Will it be – will your decision be impacted by the attack in any way?
Speaker Pelosi.  Yes.
Anderson Cooper.  It will?
Speaker Pelosi.  Yes.  And it will impacted by – well, I – let me just say this: I have been blessed by my colleagues.  As Whip first, then Leader, and then Speaker of the House for four terms.  That’s a great honor.  Greatest honor I have, though, is to represent the people of San Francisco.  To walk on the Floor of the House – every time I walk on, I think, ‘They chose me to be the one to speak for them.’
Anderson Cooper.  They’ve chosen you for a long time.
Speaker Pelosi.  They have, 35 years.  Imagine, I only thought I was coming for ten years at the most.  If that.  And here I am.  I never expected to run.  I never expected to run for leadership.  But people encouraged me to run, and then people go to run for leadership.  And here I am.  
But this institution is a great institution.  My father served here, and I had great reverence for it.  I was taught that as a little girl.  And then when he was Mayor, of course, he always referenced his service in Congress.  It’s a place where great things have happened for our country.  To see the assault on January 6th on this Capitol was something that was so devastating and traumatic for many of us.  Some of my Members who are calling me about their races now, and understanding the trauma we’re experiencing again with Paul – we’re revisiting the trauma they felt that day on January 6th, having the same root, disinformation and the rest.
So I think it’s really important for us to find a way to restore unity in the Congress of the United States.  And to do so by showing who’s meeting the needs of the American people and, hopefully, pulling some folks to that point of view.
Anderson Cooper.  Do you think if – if the rhetoric doesn’t change, if vitriol and division doesn’t heal to some degree, that there will be more attacks on people’s family, on people in public –
Speaker Pelosi.  Well, I certainly hope not.  I mean, when somebody is assaulted in your family because you – I mean, he was not looking for Paul, he was looking for me.  Members, I think, have to weigh that among the equities as to whether they will run.  And we want Democrats, Republicans, everyone to see the opportunity to run and make their contribution to our country, whether it’s at the state or local level, or at the federal level.  As they weigh the equities, it has to be one that is made with confidence and not with fear that something could happen to their families.
Anderson Cooper.  Do you worry that something like this will dissuade future people, young people who are thinking about a life in – of service, a life of public service.  And as you said, your dad served, you looked up to him, you served.  Do you worry that the tenor of everything, that just makes good people not want to serve?
Speaker Pelosi.  Running for office, it’s really a family decision.  And that’s going to have to be up to their families, to decide whether it’s worth – there aren’t – most of the people that we want to run have options.  They have options to be in the academic world, in the military and in all – law enforcement, in all kinds of fields where they can thrive.  They’re not people without options.  And so they have to weigh the – what it means to their families, that they would run.
I don’t think that this will become an epidemic of violence.  But I do think that there has to be some message to the Republicans to stop, to stop the disinformation, because that is, without any question, a source of what happened on January 6th, and then the denial of all of that, and then the source of what is happening to me right now.
Now, I’ve been a target for a long time, because I’m very effective.  I’m a great – she says – master of the legislation.  I love doing that.  That is what I love to do, is to write legislation,  And on the policy side, on the political side, I’m an outstanding, shall we say, a master of the resources necessary, intellectual, financial or political, to win elections. And so they have to put a stop to me, right?  Because, because they know that I’m about having our Members succeed.  I have great confidence in our Members.  And every compliment I receive about being a great legislator or a great political force, I convey that gratitude to my Members, for their courage, for their astuteness, for their excellence, and I take great pride in what they – we all do working together.
Anderson Cooper.  Tomorrow, election day, what’s your message to voters?
Speaker Pelosi.  To vote.  I think the vote tomorrow is a vote to defend our democracy.  But I just want you to vote.  And we will respect the outcome of the election.  And I would hope that the other side would do that as well.
I sent a message to my colleagues, that it’s, we have to own the ground tomorrow.  And we want to help protect the sanctity of the vote, as well as the safety of our precinct workers and our poll workers.
Anderson Cooper.  When you hear some candidates say that they won’t, you know, they’ll have to see what happens.  They’ll have to let the process play out before they will say whether or not they’ll accept the results, what do you think?
Speaker Pelosi.  What do I think?  What do I think?  That they have to see how an election will work.  Is that dependent on how the election turns out?
What I see is, across the country, legislation that says if they don’t like the results of the election, they will establish new standards for what wins an election and determine for themselves what that is.  That is not what a democracy is.  A democracy is freedom to vote in free and fair elections, a standard that we apply to other countries.  It should certainly apply to us here, whether it’s a Democratic victory or a Republican victory.  It isn’t about – unless it turns out my way, I don’t accept it.  That’s not a democracy.
So that’s why I say that defending our democracy is on the ballot, in so many ways.  And we’re just being very prayerful about it.  Now, when I was growing up, we were taught in our very Democratic, Italian-American, Catholic family, you don’t pray to win an election.  You pray that God’s will will be done.  So it’s not about saying, ‘God be on our side.’  No, it’s just that God’s will will be done.  But we do pray.  We pray for that.  And then, as President Kennedy said, ‘God’s work will be truly – must truly be our own.’  And that’s how we go forward.  
So it is – I’ve done very well.  I’ve been close to tears a number of times in this conversation.  I think I’ve done very well in containing that.  But of course, I’m sad because of my husband.  But I’m also sad because of our country, unless we can get over this and have enough people out there say, ‘While I may not agree with everything the Democrats are for or the Republicans are for, I do agree that our democracy is important.  And that we must, we must protect it.’  It is a model to the world.  What we do, what we do now, we see as our charge from our Founders – imagine the courage and the vision that they had.  The vision of – to honor the vision of our Founders, the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform and their families to protect our freedom and democracy.  And the aspirations of our children as they go forward.  And into the future, babies born now with – into the next century.  We want to make sure that our democracy is strong, our planet is safe and our values are intact.  And that we have healed as we go forward.
Anderson Cooper.  Speaker Pelosi, thank you so much. 
Washington, D.C.
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San Francisco – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement on the horrific attack on Paul Pelosi:
Speaker Pelosi on


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