WASHINGTON ― Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) aimed his first speech as the new Senate minority leader at President-elect Donald Trump Tuesday, warning his fellow New Yorker that his presidency will fail if he just governs by Twitter and doesn’t deliver on his campaign pledges.
Schumer suggested that Trump will have to do much better on all accounts, but argued that Trump seems to be heading away from his promises to reform Washington.
“He said he was going to un-rig the system. So far, it still looks rigged,” Schumer said, noting that Trump is appointing a cabinet that includes billionaires and Wall Street veterans.
“If you abandon change and simply embrace the shop-worn, hard right, pro-corporate, pro-elite policies diametrically opposed to the many campaign themes that helped you win working class votes and get you elected, your presidency will not succeed,” Schumer said. “We Democrats will hold you accountable.”
Schumer had praise for Trump’s stances on China, trade and investing in infrastructure, but also suggested Trump’s penchant for tweeting at individual companies and policies would not achieve anything.
“With all due respect, America cannot afford a Twitter presidency,” Schumer said. “We have real challenges and we have real needs to get things done, and many Americans are afraid, Mr. President-elect, that instead of rolling up your sleeves and forging serious policies, for you, Twitter suffices.”
Schumer pointed to Trump’s Twitter campaign against Carrier, which planned to ship jobs to Mexico. The Democrat noted that while the manufacturer decided to keep 800 jobs, it’s still moving 1,300 others.
“That’s not an economic policy,” Schumer said.
He also chided Trump for conducting foreign policy in 140-character bites.
“Tweeting ― quote ― ‘very smart’ to Vladimir Putin for ignoring American sanctions is no foreign policy,” Schumer said, adding that such moves should alarm everyone.
“America doesn’t conduct foreign policy by tweet, least of all by flattering Putin after our intelligence agencies have confirmed that Russia interfered in our election,” Schumer said.
He also called on the GOP to be more vocal when Trump crosses lines such as elevating Putin’s opinions over those of the U.S. intelligence community, suggesting they should stand by as if they were watching an episode of Trump’s old show, “The Apprentice.”
“The president-elect must be held accountable, on both sides of the aisle. On January 20, we won’t be in reality TV. We’ll be in reality,” Schumer said.
“We Democrats will make sure government works for every American in reality, not just on TV and on twitter,” he added.