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Nancy Pelosi's Ice Cream Fridge refers to an ongoing controversy regarding an April 2020 appearance made by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on The Late Late Show with James Corden in which she expressed her enjoyment of ice cream and showcased the ice cream in her freezer. Outrage over the segment escalated after President Donald Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted an attack ad against Pelosi, intercutting the clip from Corden with an interview with Pelosi from MSNBC shot in the same kitchen. Pascale posted an edit of the two videos that combined her segment from Corden with her discussing the Paycheck Protection Program, which offers low-interest loans to small businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak to keep workers on the payroll. The edit implies that she is more interested in eating ice cream and flaunting her wealth than helping the working class.
On April 14th, 2020, Pelosi appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden. During her interview, Pelosi participated in a segment called "Show & Tell" in which Corden encourages guests to share something from their home. Pelosi shared chocolate candy and ice cream, opening her freezer to show it stocked with various ice cream products. The video received more than 410,000 views, 9,500 dislikes and 1,900 likes in less than two weeks (shown below).
That day, Pelosi also appeared on the MSNBC news commentary series All In with Chris Hayes, shooting the interview in the same kitchen. During their talk, Pelosi explained her position on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which she claims to "fully support," detailing why she and other Democrats held back on the passage of the program because they claim it benefited wealthier businesses. She said, in part, "I will not allow anything to perpetuate the disparity and access to capital that exists in our country. And so what they said, first come first serve, ‘Oh we’re just serving the customers that we know at the bank.’ Well, what happens to our underbanked folks? So last week, when they came, they asked for a quarter of a trillion dollars in 48 hours. I said, well, I don’t think so. Let’s see how we can open this up to many more people."
Chris Hayes: Why do you not want to just do that? What is -- what are your priorities for this next piece of legislation?
Pelosi: Well, let me say that CARES One -- we’re getting ready for CARES Two, but CARES One was a bill that had many good features. We were successful working together House and Senate Democrats in changing it from the corporate trickle down bill to a worker’s first pull up bill. Part of it is a Paycheck Protection Program, which is very important.
However, I will not allow anything to perpetuate the disparity and access to capital that exists in our country. And so what they said, first come first serve, ‘Oh we’re just serving the customers that we know at the bank.’ Well, what happens to our underbanked folks? So last week, when they came, they asked for a quarter of a trillion dollars in 48 hours. I said, well, I don’t think so. Let’s see how we can open this up to many more people.
So Chuck Schumer and I, and this all happened on the Senate side, and I congratulate the Senate Democrats, they went to the floor when Mitch McConnell went in for his 250, and they said they objected. And then they said, we have another proposal which opens the door to the underbanked. There’s $60 billion, 10% of what they were asking for to be used for community development, financial institutions [that] know the neighborhood, know the language, know the culture, know the people, know the businesses to enable them to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program.
In addition to that, we still gave them half the money, $125 billion, but we use some other for this initiative, and also for the grant and other loan programs that benefited everyone. OK, so then we also said, while we’re at it what we desperately need is support for state and local government as well as for hospital. This is urgent. And they just said no. They only were going for the 250. We said, let’s negotiate. Let’s see how we can come to some conclusion that will benefit all of the needs, the underbanked, the hospitals, the state and local governments who are carrying enormous burdens.
And also the hospitals still talking about testing with the imperative for us to have the data, the racial data that is in there so that we see how this is affecting everyone in our community. So we were not going to let all this money that is spent because of the coronavirus crisis which is heartbreaking, the number of people who have died or others have lost their loved ones and the rest. But we could not allow the big money that was put to fight it to perpetuate disparity and access to capital and access to care.
Following the airing of the episode, Pelosi's ice cream freezer became entangled in the push to the Paycheck Protection Program, conflating her interview on Corden with her conversation with Hayes. For example, Senator Marco Rubio parodied her ice cream video on Twitter, offering her ice cream in exchange for her support of PPP.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) April 17, 2020
Congressman Dan Crenshaw tweeted, "Nancy Pelosi remembered to restock her $24K refrigerators with $13 ice cream but forgot to restock the Paycheck Protection Program for our small businesses. 22 million people are out of work. Priorities." The post received more than 25,000 likes and 11,000 retweets in less than one week (shown below, left).
The segment also became a talking point for conservative pundits and influencers online (shown below, center).
Critics of the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus outbreak supported Pelosi. On April 17th, Twitter user @AndrewPollackFL tweeted, Guess who is on vacation, eating tubs of ice cream and still collecting her paycheck? Nancy Pelosi. Guess who is working 24/7 for free so Americans can go back to work and get their paychecks? @realDonaldTrump." Within one week, the tweet received more than 18,000 likes and 7,700 retweets (shown below, right).
Brad Parscale's Tweet
On April 20th, 2020, Trump Campaign Manager Brad Parscale tweeted an edit of the two interviews intercut together. He wrote, "Americans are losing their jobs since the virus rocked the economy. Nancy Pelosi blocks funding for people to keep getting paychecks. But she’s got a $24K fridge full of ice cream, so she’s cool. '𝑳𝒆𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒎 𝒆𝒂𝒕 𝒊𝒄𝒆 𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒎.' – 𝑵𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒚 𝑨𝒏𝒕𝒐𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒕𝒕𝒆." The tweet received more than 7.1 million views, 32,000 likes and 18,000 retweets in less than four days.
Americans are losing their jobs since the virus rocked the economy.
Nancy Pelosi blocks funding for people to keep getting paychecks.
But she’s got a $24K fridge full of ice cream, so she’s cool.
“𝑳𝒆𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒎 𝒆𝒂𝒕 𝒊𝒄𝒆 𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒎.”
- 𝑵𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒚 𝑨𝒏𝒕𝒐𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒕𝒕𝒆 pic.twitter.com/6KDurMFJDD
— Brad Parscale – Download our Trump 2020 App today! (@parscale) April 20, 2020
According to FactCheck.org, the video "takes Pelosi's words out of context." Additionally, the organization published a video comparing the two interviews.