SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the KPIX 5 News studio early Tuesday evening, giving an exclusive interview that touched on COVID, the crisis in Afghanistan and the state’s gubernatorial recall election.
Watch full interview with Speaker Pelosi below:
During the wide-ranging discussion with KPIX 5 News anchors Allen Martin and Juliette Goodrich, Pelosi addressed the possibility of a national COVID vaccine or masking mandates due to the Delta variant.
She said such mandates were unlikely, and noted she was proud of mayors like San Francisco’s London Breed taking the lead on vaccine requirements.
“We don’t have enforcement, but we should have moral suasion and people should understand that for the common good they should get vaccinated for their own health, Pelosi explained. “I don’t know that you’ll see a requirement nationally.”
When asked about the September 14th recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom, she voiced her support for Newsom and called him a good governor. She also said that if he was ousted, there could be ramifications for the United States Senate with Senator Dianne Feinstein advancing in age.
With polling pointing to a near dead heat in the recall, Speaker Pelosi said turning out the vote among Democrats next month will be crucial.
“We have many more Democrats than Republicans for one thing. You asked me was I surprised; I don’t think that many people took the recall seriously because it’s not a very serious purpose,” said Pelosi. “But the fact is it does exist, so we do have to get more enthusiastic turn out of the vote.”
On the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, Speaker Pelosi said she commends President Biden’s decision and noted the U.S. should’ve been out of Afghanistan a while ago.
On the topic of U.S. military equipment that was now in the hands of the Taliban, Speaker Pelosi said this: “Some equipment was left there. It was thought that would be used — it was hoped that it would be used — by the Afghan military to defend its own country. The fact that it did not and could not was all the more reason for us to leave.”
On the streets of San Francisco, people had varying concerns on state and international issues.
George Johnson of Burlingame backs Pelosi’s stance.
“We sent the military over there for how many – 20 years – and they had a chance to success and do what they were trying to do. And they couldn’t do it. So I think 20 years is long enough,” he said.
“I personally believe it was not handled correctly. I believe that the people in Afghanistan, especially the women, are going to definitely pay for that. But I do not believe that it was solely Biden’s fault,” said Keith Brown of Fairfield.
The speaker also weighed in on the possibility of a national mask and vaccine mandate.
“We don’t have that kind of enforcement, but people should have moral suasion,” she said.
“I just feel that we need a mask mandate, that the variants are only getting worse,” said Barbara Carlson of San Francisco. “So I don’t necessary agree with her on that.”
As for the recall effort in California, Pelosi said Governor Gavin Newsom has been a great governor. A CBS California opinion poll shows Newsom with a thin advantage in the recall.
“We do have to get more enthusiastic about turning out the vote and the governor’s making a tour right now calling attention to the fact that voting has already started,” she said.
“I don’t support the recall,” said Sylvia Johnson of Burlingame. “And what did he do wrong? I mean if you told me that he killed somebody, or he I don’t know that he did something horrible, I would say okay, let’s recall him.”
“This is a strong blue state, and the fact that he’s already here it bodes not so well for the Democrats nationally,” added Brown.
Pelosi added that the governor has a clear vision about the state that he loves, and she’s very proud of him. She does not foresee working with a Republican governor.
Betty Yu contributed to this report.