May 22, 2020
Rep. Val Demings Interview Transcript: Talks Being on Biden’s VP List
Representative Val Demings of Florida went on Stephanie Miller’s radio show May 22 to talk about a variety of topics, including being on Joe Biden’s potential Vice President list. Read the interview transcript here.
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Stephanie Miller: (00:10)
Good morning, Madam Representative Val Demings.
Representative Val Demings: (00:13)
Well, good morning. It’s so great to be with you with. But look, I got to say thanks a lot for playing that quote right before your interview with me.
Stephanie Miller: (00:26)
Can you still-
Representative Val Demings: (00:26)
Oh my gosh, what is happening?
Stephanie Miller: (00:30)
You are a United States Representative on the short list for vice president and do you not just wake up and go is this guy really our-
Representative Val Demings: (00:37)
Don’t let the children go outside. What is going on? God. Okay.
Stephanie Miller: (00:44)
Okay. All right. Let’s get that out of our system. Yes, listen, I like assertive women and you told our friend Dean Obeidallah, who’s with us here on Sirius XM. You said, “I am on the short list and I’m honored to be on the short list.” And Joe Biden acknowledged as much in an interview with the Orlando News, I believe, just a while back. So, wow. Congratulations, first of all. And what a considerable amazing group of women you are being mentioned with. Right?
Representative Val Demings: (01:13)
That is what it’s all about. It is an amazing group of women and it is just so cool, the level of excitement that’s around the potential VP candidates. And it is an honor to be on the list. And what I hope, regardless of how it turns out, that when boys and girls and young men and women around this nation hear my personal story and they’ve been told that they can’t make it for whatever reason, that they will be inspired and believe in themselves and go on to do some pretty amazing things in this country. So, yeah, it’s an exciting time. We know we have a lot of big challenges and we’ve just been reminded, thanks to the quote that you just played. So we have a lot of work to do.
Stephanie Miller: (01:56)
Now, I know we shouldn’t get excited, but as you see, some of these polls have Biden up by 11 points. Now, when he picks you, do you think it’ll go to 20 points?
Representative Val Demings: (02:04)
No, I suspect it’ll be off the charts. No, but I just think, okay, what you just played the President saying, and I don’t know what he’s saying because I can’t interpret foolishness. But every day we hear things like that. Now, whether you’re Republican or Democrat, whether you have supported the President or not, if you’re listening to that, there’s no way you can say, “Oh yeah, let’s give that guy another four years because, man, he’s got it together.” The polls don’t surprise me, but we take nothing for granted in this political climate.
Stephanie Miller: (02:41)
We’re having Steve Schmidt on the happy hour this week, representative. And I thought, “Wow, that’s just the next Lincoln Project ad, just that. Just that sound byte.
Representative Val Demings: (02:49)
Just let it go. Right? Just let it go. You don’t have to add to it or take anything away from it, just let it go.
Stephanie Miller: (02:56)
I have to be honest with you. I am out here in California. I feel like I’m cheating on Kamala Harris with you and I don’t care. You’re all fabulous. But I loved what you just said, and it echoes in your tweet. I don’t know if you’ve seen this picture, Representative. It’s the raising the flag. It’s a parody of the raising the flag, the American flag.
Speaker 3: (03:16)
Iwo Jima. Iwo Jima.
Stephanie Miller: (03:17)
Iwo Jima, yeah. But it’s people of color and a Muslim person and a gay person and a black person and a white, you know what I mean? And I love that idea, but what it’s going to take to rebuild America after this disaster. And you tweeted, “e pluribus unum, out of many one. The President can attack President Obama, but he can never destroy hope. White, black, Hispanic, Asian, indigenous Americans, parents of all races and backgrounds still believe in a future where their children can become president. And so do I.” Rockstar, cheers.
Representative Val Demings: (03:44)
No, but we have to be reminded when the most powerful person, the leader of the free world, takes the microphone and tries to convince us that we’re not who we are, we have to be reminded of who we are. And it’s taken every race and every bit of strength and energy, some blood, sweat, and tears to build this nation, but we didn’t do it separately. We built it together. And that’s what raising the flag really represents. It’s just such, that’s what we’re trying to do. And we can do this. We can get around the man behind the curtain who I believe is just trying to destroy everything that is great and special and strong about America. We can not stand by and allow him to do that. I don’t care what party he’s in, we cannot allow that. That is not who we are.
Stephanie Miller: (04:37)
Yeah, I am, wow, I am feeling the religion this morning with you, Representative. You are on fire. You brought some short list fire this morning.
Representative Val Demings: (04:46)
No, but I mean, it’s true. And really, when I talk about my own story and people are like, “Oh, there she goes again talking about her parents and how she grew up.” But do you know why I tell that story so often, that I grew up the daughter of a maid and a janitor in a two bedroom wood-frame house, youngest of seven children, the first in my family to go to college, to be the Orlando Police Chief, to now be serving in Congress and on a list being considered for Vice President? I mean, come on. That’s why I tell that story to inspire hope. And someone said it a few days ago that leaders have to be realistic. When you stand, when the President stands at the podium, he’s got to tell the truth. He’s got to be transparent with the American people. But one thing this president has never done that leaders also have to do, inspire hope.
Stephanie Miller: (05:34)
Representative Val Demings: (05:35)
You got to do it-
Stephanie Miller: (05:37)
And I got a tingle up my leg and a little chill up my spine when you just said that last thing. Here’s what the President’s freaking out about. You tweeted, “If the President can vote by mail, you should be able to vote by mail.” New Fox News national poll on whether voters should be able to cast ballots by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic. 63%, yes. 30%, no. That’s Fox viewers.
Speaker 3: (05:58)
Stephanie Miller: (05:58)
So, Representative, I have to, again, I’m not a conspiracy theorist. He appears to be freaking out, screaming vote fraud, when we have vote by mail for years in states all over the place, it does not favor one party over the other. It appears to me that he knows there’s going to be hacking or that Putin is going to help him to a degree even larger than he did last time, because you can’t hack vote by mail. Right? There is a paper trail, literally. Isn’t there?
Representative Val Demings: (06:25)
Let me say this. If he’s worried about vote by mail being associated with fraud, maybe we should start the investigation with his ballot because he voted by mail. It’s just so hypocritical that you are doing what you don’t want other Americans to be able to do even when the overwhelming majority of Americans say, “We need to do that.” And especially during this time. Now we hope and we pray there’s not another surge of COVID-19 in the fall, but we don’t know. And the President’s primary responsibility is the health, welfare, and safety of Americans. And so this is a perfect way to be proactive and create a national vote by mail program that is unconditional, regardless of what your circumstances are, you can vote by mail. Maybe someone needs to explain to the President that voting is not a privilege, it is a right.
Stephanie Miller: (07:23)
Representative Val Demings: (07:24)
For every person.
Stephanie Miller: (07:24)
He said something like that, it’s an honor to vote. No, it is a right guaranteed to us in the Constitution.
Representative Val Demings: (07:30)
What is he so afraid of? What is he so afraid of? If every person has just that ability to support whom they want to support, to support the person that is more in tune with their personal struggles. What is he so afraid of?
Stephanie Miller: (07:47)
You achieved your last level of rock stardom as a House Impeachment Manager. This must strike you that Kamala Harris and others, of course, have been saying, “This is the exact same thing as Ukraine.” It’s what one of the professors you had testify said when he’s like, “I’m going to hold up aid to Michigan if you try to let people vote.” I mean, right? If you do vote by mail. That is a federal crime.
Representative Val Demings: (08:13)
It’s a federal crime. And obviously, this President believes that if he commits his crime in public, then it’s not a crime. Just like if he doesn’t keep testing, we won’t have as many cases of COVID-19. It’s just complete craziness. And so, but you know what? The President telegraphed, he has been telegraphing since he’s been in office what he would do. And Maya Angelou said it best, when people show you who they are, believe them.
Stephanie Miller: (08:49)
Okay. Representative, a couple of your tweets just went to what you just sort of referenced. It’s just his complete cowardice, I think, is the thing. You said, “We’re not going to beat this pandemic by covering up true impacts. That’s not us. Americans don’t run from a fight. We have to face the reality head on, meet the challenge with bravery, ingenuity, and honesty.” And you said, “It appears the President would rather run and hide from COVID-19 instead of doing the hard work and taking on the challenge with testing, contact tracing, and treatment. It’s cowardly, and it’s going to cost lives.” And that’s exactly, I think, what is happening. He is running and he’s pretending this isn’t happening. Americans, in poll after poll, Representative, show that they don’t want it sugarcoated. They want the truth. Large majority is no, it’s not safe yet. So you can say you’re reopening the economy, but if people don’t feel safe-
Representative Val Demings: (09:34)
Yes. Thank God for the overwhelming majority of the American people who, regardless of what was coming out of the President’s mouth and regardless of what was coming out of many of the Governors’ mouths around the nation, they took it seriously and they have practiced social distancing, they’re wearing their masks, they’re doing everything they can, not just to keep themselves and their families safe, but to keep their neighbors and others safe. And so in the absence of leadership, others have to take on that responsibility. And that’s what we’re seeing people all around this country doing. So I just really just thank God for them.
Stephanie Miller: (10:14)
And Representative, you can’t outrun facts and figures and the truth for long. You tweeted, “The coverup of the COVID data in Florida needs to be investigated by an independent body.” I mean, we are in a war for truth and science and facts. You can’t just, whether it’s Georgia or Florida, you can’t go just fix the numbers so that DeSantis or Trump look better, or more people are tricked into thinking it’s safe to reopen. That’s immoral on top of everything else.
Representative Val Demings: (10:43)
At the very least, we ought to be able to trust what they’re saying. And look, I’ve served as a leader of a large organization every day with not a good day standing at the microphone or doing a press conference and delivering bad news, or look, we screwed this up. It’s painful, right? But our primary responsibility is the safety, health, and welfare of the American people. That’s the Governors’ primary responsibility. That’s the President’s primary responsibility. So to alter the numbers, to try to conceal critical information that will help people be safe, to not listen to doctors and other medical experts and scientists and researchers and say, “Well, no, I talk to doctors all the time so there you go.” That is just craziness. I don’t know whether the ozone layer has gotten too close to the earth’s atmosphere around the White House, I’m not sure what’s going on.
Stephanie Miller: (11:43)
And that amount of hairspray. Yes.
Representative Val Demings: (11:45)
But that is crazy. No, no, forget that. Why don’t you just find a way to ingest, inject yourself, or ingest bleach and Lysol? He said that, we’re not making that up. That’s what he said. And so, come on, America.
Stephanie Miller: (12:02)
Yeah. Yeah. And this is, you went right to it. Well, now we’re at what? Almost 100,000. Yeah.
Representative Val Demings: (12:07)
Yeah, we’re at 94.
Stephanie Miller: (12:09)
Almost 40 million out of work. You said, “Yet Trump can’t seem to see past his vendetta against President Obama like Captain Ahab unable to look past his white whale as the ship is smashed to splinters around him. He’s never been able to put country first.” It’s exactly what Adam Schiff said on the Senate floor. We will never put America first. We always-
Representative Val Demings: (12:29)
It’s like Mrs. Lincoln. Other than your husband being assassinated, how did you enjoy the show? I mean, this man is so … He’s such a narcissist. And look, I was a cop, right? I’m not going to dress it up. I’m not going to try to clean it up. I’m not going to try to make it something that is not. He is. He only cares about himself. And he’s willing to risk the health of the American people to win the next election. Well, we know that he’s willing to do anything, conspire with a foreign country, lie under oath, and get others to lie under oath, conceal evidence and information, maybe even destroy. We know he’s willing to do anything to win.
Stephanie Miller: (13:16)
I see your Lincoln quote. I see your Lincoln quote and I raise you someone that said Nixon was a president that became a criminal. Donald Trump’s a criminal that became President. And as a cop, you can smell a criminal a mile away, can’t you?
Representative Val Demings: (13:29)
Well, and what I said right before we initiated the impeachment inquiry is that criminals, habitual offenders telegraph what they do because they just can’t help themselves. No one should say, I mean, Donald Trump stood right here in my home state and invited Russia to interfere with our election. Then you know what he did? He really worked with Russia to interfere with our election and obstructed evidence in that investigation. So he telegraphed, he continues to do it. I mean, it’s who he is and he will not stop. And what was just so disappointing for me, look, I was honored to serve as an Impeachment Manager. I think we were certainly upholding the rule of law and the Constitution of the United States and protecting our democracy are pretty dang gone important. But what disappointed me so much was the Senate. I mean, it’s like, “Okay, yeah. Yeah. You’ve proven that he did what you said, but I’m going to vote to let him go free.”
Stephanie Miller: (14:32)
Representative Val Demings: (14:32)
Stephanie Miller: (14:32)
Well, and you’ve tweeted about your disappointment with them in terms of trying to help Americans, just this horrible pandemic. And you said, “The role of Congress is to serve the American people, not the President’s reckless, narcissistic, inhumane policies. Families and communities are struggling. I ask my Republican polys to think of their constituents and join us to pass real emergency relief.” And in your final one, I love that, “I could feel like we’re losing our shared values, but I believe the vast majority of us still agree on basic principles, liberty and democracy are sacred, children shouldn’t suffer, everyone, whether from rural or urban communities, deserves opportunities to succeed.” Here, here. And thank you for fighting the good fight. It must be frustrating every day working with Republicans that when you have Mitch McConnell saying, “Oh, well, there’s no real urgency.” Really? Have you talked to anybody?
Representative Val Demings: (15:19)
It can be frustrating, but it’s well worth the fight. And I’m going to fight it today harder than I fought it yesterday.
Stephanie Miller: (15:26)
Ah. We are just in love with you, A. B, let’s go over a couple details. Now, when we do Miami Sexy Liberal, when it’s safe again, and you’re Vice President, is that going to be a secret service thing with the motorcycle? Are they going to let you ride the motorcycle?
Representative Val Demings: (15:40)
You know, if I’m fortunate enough to be chosen, I’m already planning the national ride.
Stephanie Miller: (15:46)
Okay. Oh, now we’re talking.
Speaker 3: (15:48)
Yeah, love that.
Representative Val Demings: (15:50)
The national ride. And I know bikers, right? They won’t care that I’m a Democrat and they’re Republican. They won’t care that I’m black and they’re white. They’ll be there.
Stephanie Miller: (16:01)
Oh, come on. Could you be more spectacular? Not really. Representative Val Demings. Thanks. Hope you’ll come back. Thanks, as always.
Representative Val Demings: (16:07)
Thank you so much. Y’all take care.
Stephanie Miller: (16:08)
All right. Bye-bye.