POLITICS
03/26/2017 10:56 am ET

Chuck Schumer: Democrats Could Work With Trump If He Ditches His Hard-Right Policies

He said the GOP health care bill failed because of a "basic lack of competence."

WASHINGTON ― Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday that Democrats won’t work with President Donald Trump unless he ditches the House Freedom Caucus and his “hard right” policies.

“The president campaigned as a populist against the Democratic and Republican establishments,” Schumer said on ABC’s “This Week.” “He ran as a defender of the middle class. The minute he got into office, maybe led by Vice President [Mike] Pence or some of the others, he moved so far to the hard right that it’s virtually impossible for us to work with him.”

“If he changes, he could have a different presidency, but he’s going to have to tell the Freedom Caucus and the hard-right special wealthy interests who are dominating his presidency,” Schumer added.

He said that Democrats will “certainly look at his proposals” if Trump ditches the policies that have been a hallmark of his presidency so far, noting that any future support would be “guided by our values.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the head of the House Freedom Caucus, said Republicans need Schumer to be a “willing partner” on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Schumer, however, stated clearly that any legislation that repeals the health care law is a nonstarter for Democrats.

Party members across the spectrum, from the somewhat conservative Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to the democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), are unified in opposition, Schumer said. 

You cannot run the presidency like you run a real estate deal. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

Trump’s inexperience with governance contributed to his inability to pass the health care bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, the Senate minority leader said, adding that Democrats can’t give their support if the president makes the same mistakes on tax reform or other important legislation.

“You cannot run the presidency like you run a real estate deal,” Schumer said, noting the president’s “basic lack of competence.”

Schumer also slammed Trump for his new policy of working to undermine the Affordable Care Act through administrative actions.

“For the president to say that he’ll destroy it, or undermine it, that’s not presidential,” Schumer said. “That’s petulance.”

“If he, out of anger, vengeance, whatever, starts undermining [the Affordable Care Act], it’s going backfire on him because he’s the president and the American people know he’s in charge and they want him to make things better,” Schumer added. 

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