President Donald Trump’s second State of the Union address was “political, divisive, calculating, even nasty at times,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday.
“Well, there’s very little nice to say about it,” Schumer told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.” “I think (the Democratic response from) Stacey Abrams showed the President what real leadership was last night. She was thoughtful, caring.”
“You know, you can’t talk about comity and working together and give a speech that is so divisive — that just doesn’t fly,” the New York Democrat added.
The President’s speech, given Tuesday night in the House chamber before a divided Congress, focused on a litany of policy areas that he hoped to work with Congress on, including his proposed border wall, prescription drug prices and the country’s infrastructure. On Wednesday, however, Schumer shrugged off Trump’s hopes of working with congressional Democrats on the issues he highlighted.
“So in the areas where he tried to reach out, you know — drug prices, transportation, infrastructure — there was no meat, there was no enthusiasm. All the enthusiasm was for the divisive parts like immigration, abortion, things like that. So it was not a good speech,” he said, adding that he doesn’t believe Trump is able to “give a truly bipartisan speech and start working with us.”
Schumer said congressional Democrats did want to work with their Republican counterparts to create a deal on border security that would please both sides, a task that is currently being worked on by negotiators from both parties ahead of another possible government shutdown when current funding for parts of the government runs out in mid-February.
“We’re willing to do border security, we always have. We offered border security to the President. So we have always tried to be bipartisan, we have tried to work with our Republican colleagues. And in fact, when the President stays out of it we get it done,” he said.
“I believe, John, if the President stays out of it, we will get a deal, a good deal that every — that Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate, can support. It’s when the President weighs in with his heavy hand, his unrealistic heavy hand — he doesn’t know how to negotiate — that things get messed up. So if he stays out of it, yes, I believe the odds are very high, we will get a deal,” Schumer said.