In his first speech as Senate minority leader Tuesday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) promised that Senate Democrats will hold Donald Trump and his Republicans accountable to the rule of law and campaign promises.
“It is not our job to be a rubber stamp. It’s our job to do what’s best for the American people, the middle class, and those struggling to get there,” Schumer said.
“What we will always do is hold the President-elect and his Republican colleagues in Congress accountable, accountable to the working people to whom the President-elect promised so much, accountable to the people of all colors and creeds and sexual orientations in this country for whom he is president, accountable to the millions of Americans who voted for him, even though many of the Republican policies he now post-election seems to be embracing are inimitable to their interests,” Schumer continued.
The minority leader said that Democrats will uphold their “Constitutional duty” to hold Trump and Republicans accountable to the law.
“Sometimes it will mean pointing out where his rhetoric and reality diverge. And sometimes it will mean resisting the President and Republicans in Congress when they propose legislation that we believe will hurt the American people. This will be an accountability congress, and we will be a caucus that makes sure the President-elect keeps his commitment to truly make America great again in its finest sense and tradition,” Schumer said.
Schumer listed campaign promises from Trump like reducing the unemployment rate and saving Social Security and Medicare, promising to hold Trump’s feet to the fire on those issues.
He also knocked Trump for nominating billionaires and seasoned lawmakers to his cabinet after promising to bring sweeping change to Washington, D.C.
“He promised to change the way America operates, to oppose the leaks, drain the swamp, pay attention to working families. But my friends, since the election, he seems to have forgotten that. Looking at the cabinet, which is staffed with billionaires, corporate executives, titans of Wall Street and those deeply embedded in Washington’s corridors of power, it seems that many of his campaign themes are quickly being abandoned. He said he was going to unrig the system. So far, it still looks rigged,” Schumer said. “Too many of his cabinet picks support the same hard right, doctrinaire positions that many in the Republican party have held for years, policies that the American people have repeatedly rejected.”
Schumer acknowledged that Democrats lost the 2016 election, but he promised to fight for the party’s values and work with Trump wherever possible.
“I believe the Democrats must take a hard look at what we can do better. It is clear that many Americans felt the economy was rigged against them and that their government wasn’t looking out for them. It was too beholden to big money and special interests. Democrats did not do enough to show American workers that we are the party that has their backs, that our positions are much more in line with their needs than the Republican positions. And so, as we look to this new Congress and a new presidency, Senate Democrats will once again recommit ourselves to a set of principles that has always been at the core of our party, what my beloved friend and mentor, Senator Ted Kennedy, called economic justice,” he said.
Schumer also criticized Trump for using Twitter to offer short, vague views on foreign policy and domestic issues.
“Our challenges too entrenched for mere tweeting. Making America great again requires more than 140 characters per issue. With all due respect, America cannot afford a Twitter presidency,” he said in his speech. “There’s nothing wrong with using Twitter to speak to the American people. It’s a good use of modern media. But these issues are complex and demand both careful consideration and action. We cannot tweet them away.”