Transcript: Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro on “Face the Nation,” April 21, 2024

The following is a transcript of an interview with Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, that aired on April 21, 2024.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro. He joins us this morning from Abington, Pennsylvania. And, Governor, thank you for sticking with us. We’ve been having some transmission technical issues. So hopefully, we don’t get interrupted. I’ll get- I’ll get straight to it–

GOVERNOR JOSH SHAPIRO (D-PA): Good. I look forward to the conversation.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’ll get straight to it, Governor. You have been outspoken against the rising and troubling antisemitism in this country. I know the FBI director said just a few days ago that federal law enforcement is concerned about lone actors targeting gatherings ahead of the start of Passover, which starts tomorrow. Are there known threats in your state?

GOV. SHAPIRO: Well, there’s not known threats right now. And I can tell you, the Pennsylvania State Police working in coordination with our federal and local partners are all over this. And we’ll let folks know, and communities, if there are specific threats. But we continue to work closely with law enforcement and community leaders to do everything we can to take down the temperature, to address the rise in antisemitism, Islamophobia, other forms of hate. There should be no place for that here in Pennsylvania. Of course, Pennsylvania, founded on the vision of William Penn, a place that would be a place of tolerance and welcome and peace, a place where people could come together and practice their faith, whatever their faith is, we have a special relationship with that, here in this commonwealth, where we respect all, no matter what you look like, where you come from, who you love, or who you choose to pray to. And we’re going to continue to do everything we can to make sure everyone feels protected in this commonwealth. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, there should be no place for it anywhere in America. I- and I know you agree with that. But let me get to the politics of the moment. President Biden won the state of Pennsylvania in 2020, narrowly. He spent a lot of time in your state this past week. We’ve seen in our polling, his approval rating among young voters aged 18 to 29 has dropped 12 points since February, from 55% to 43% today. How does the president get that back?

GOV. SHAPIRO: I think the president gets it back by doing exactly what he’s doing: showing up, talking about his record, addressing things like climate change, which are incredibly important issues for young voters, along with many others, obviously. Making sure that young people feel included in the conversation, not just as a vote, but as part of the governing coalition going forward. Young people helped propel me to victory as governor. One of the first things I did was start what I believe is the first ever Next Gen Engagement Commission here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a place where young people quite literally advise me on policy, meet with me regularly, give me their perspective on what’s happening in the community. I think part of the frustration by young people is that they- they oftentimes don’t feel heard, and they feel like their voices and their votes are taken advantage of, come election time. This is a moment where the young people deserve to be at the table. And the fact that the President is showing up in these communities and talking about these issues that are going to help young people in the future, I think is a really important step.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So last weekend, Donald Trump was campaigning in Pennsylvania, it’s so key. Here’s what he said.


DONALD TRUMP: Biden has imposed a savage natural gas export ban that’s putting countless Pennsylvania jobs at risk. He’s risking your lives. He’s risking your jobs. But he doesn’t care, because all he cares about is the green new scam.


MARGARET BRENNAN: He is speaking to real fear among some of your constituents about President Biden’s decision to, at least temporarily, put a pause on new natural gas projects. How do you respond to that?

GOV. SHAPIRO: Look, I’ve been very clear with the White House, and publicly, I hope that this policy that they put in place is very quick, and then we move forward. Here in Pennsylvania, our energy economy has powered this nation, and it has done so over many generations. And going forward, I think Pennsylvania has an opportunity to be the center of the clean energy economy. Thanks to the president, we’re the only state in the nation with two regional hydrogen hubs.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But just to- just–

GOV. SHAPIRO: Thanks to the president, we’ve been able to work together.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Sorry, just- you broke up at the beginning. I think you said you’ve been very clear to the White House that you hope this is a short pause. Does that mean you agree, it is costing your state jobs and money?

GOV. SHAPIRO: Well, I think if the pause goes on for a long time, it has the potential to cost us jobs. That’s why I want this to be as quick as possible. And what I went on to say, though, is we have an opportunity here in Pennsylvania to be the center of the clean energy economy. Thanks to President Biden, we have two regional hydrogen hubs. Thanks to President Biden, we are capping methane emissions from abandoned wells, we have billions of dollars of tax credits and other resources coming from the Department of Energy to help us through a transition. Here in Pennsylvania, we’re showing that we can both protect the jobs that exist today and create more energy jobs tomorrow. Energy is critical to the future of our commonwealth. Now, listen, the bravado and the bluster from the former president do nothing to actually create jobs in Pennsylvania. He’s got an abysmal track record when it comes to that. President Biden has a strong record. And we’re going to continue to lead on energy here in Pennsylvania.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You mentioned young voters and how key the issue of climate is to them. The Biden administration touts the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRA, as a green energy bill even though it wasn’t named that. But CBS polling shows half of Americans have not heard much, or nothing at all, about what the administration has done. Only 14% say they’ve heard a lot. Two thirds don’t know if their state has gotten federal funds for climate change projects. This seems a real vulnerability for Democrats when it comes to young voters.

GOV. SHAPIRO: Well, let me be very clear, climate change is real, it is serious, and we have to address it. And Joe Biden understands that. Donald Trump has made fun of climate change and denies its existence. So there’s a clear contrast in this race. Because of the federal dollars that have flown- flowed to Pennsylvania, as I mentioned a moment ago, we are positioned to get two regional hydrogen hubs that are going to help us combat climate change. We’re addressing all kinds of infrastructure needs here in this commonwealth, from repairing roads and bridges, to making sure people are connected to the internet, to making sure families in Esplen, which is a minority- predominantly minority community in Pittsburgh, no longer need to drink water out of the lines that contain lead, thanks to Joe Biden cleaning that up. So when it comes to infrastructure investments, when it comes to the kinds of investments that are going to help spur on a clean energy economy, President Biden has been there. Now, we have to make that case. And we’ve got to make sure folks understand that and hear that, that’s why you run a campaign. That’s why you’ll see stark differences when it comes to combating climate change between the policies of President Biden and what Donald Trump has done in the past and wants to do in the future.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But the messaging needs work, is what you’re saying?

GOV. SHAPIRO: Well, I think the case- I think the case needs to be made. There’s a wonderful track record. There’s a wonderful body of work. They need to make that case, and I’ll be helping make that case alongside the president.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask about something that has been really damaging your state and that is drug addiction. Pennsylvania, has- I’m sorry, excuse me. The number one public health crisis in Pennsylvania, according to the state, is opioids. The CDC says Pennsylvania recently saw the highest number of xylazine-related deaths in the country. What is driving the addiction?

GOV. SHAPIRO: Listen, 13 Pennsylvanians die every single day from an opioid overdose. It is unacceptable. And here in Pennsylvania, we’re trying to come at it with a- a multi-pronged approach. First, we have to understand that drug addiction is a disease, not a crime. Now we have to invest in law enforcement. And I have. We’ve increased the number of state troopers by 400, and I’m looking to add another 400. As Attorney General, I arrested over 8,000 drug dealers. So we’re not going soft on those who are peddling these poisons in our community. But we also have to make sure the treatment is available. As Attorney General I led a national coalition that ended up holding those drug companies accountable, the very people that brought this crisis into our communities, and brought $2 billion back to Pennsylvania for treatment–

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m- I’m sorry to interrupt you–

GOV. SHAPIRO: –this is really critical stuff and it’s going to require a multi-pronged approach.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m sorry, I have to interrupt you. We have to leave it there, Governor. Thank you. We’ll be back.

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