Trump taunts Chuck Schumer for taking ‘such a beating’ in US shutdown fight after senator dismisses his immigration plan
A day after President Donald Trump introduced an ambitious immigration plan that aimed to draw Democratic support and hours after he promised a more diplomatic tone, he publicly taunted Democrat Charles Schumer, saying he “took such a beating” in the government shutdown fight.
Trump took to Twitter aboard Air Force One while flying back from an economic conference in Davos, Switzerland, to attack Schumer, who is the Senate Minority Leader, for making an immigration deal “increasingly difficult.”
Using the nickname “Cryin’ Chuck,” which Trump first coined last year, the president mocked Schumer for being “unable to act on immigration,” suggesting that the outcome of the shutdown fight has complicated Schumer’s political calculations on immigration.
That tweet came two hours after Schumer denounced the White House’s immigration plan as an attempt to “tear apart our legal immigration system and adopt the wish list that anti-immigration hardliners have advocated for years.”
The fresh dispute illustrated the difficult path forward for Congress as it negotiates ahead of a February 8 must-pass government spending bill.
Many Democrats and some Republicans have said they will not support a long-term funding bill that does not include a deal to address the future of 690,000 young undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers” who were enrolled in a deferred action programme Trump terminated last fall.
Trump’s proposal offers a path to citizenship over 10-12 years for about 1.8 million dreamers in exchange for US$25 billion (HK93.8 billion) in border security upgrades, including a wall on the southwest border, and cuts to legal immigration channels for families.
But the plan was met with widespread disdain among Democrats and immigrant rights groups who called it a hard-line proposal aimed at drastically lowering immigration levels.
It was also slammed by some of Trump’s own followers, who felt that he was turning his back on the hardline anti-immigration stand he had outlined in his election campaign. Alt-right website Bartbreit even revived the nickname ‘Amnesty Don’.
Before Schumer had publicly reacted to the bill, Trump was asked in an interview with CNBC whether Democrats were prepared to shut down the government a second time in three weeks if an immigration deal is not reached.
“No,” Trump said. “Because you look at every poll, it said they made a mistake.”
He added: “I don’t want to say Schumer got badly beaten. Why should I do that? I’m negotiating with someone – I’m not going to say he got badly beaten.”
The Senate’s failure to strike an immigration deal last week resulted in a three-day partial shutdown before lawmakers agreed on Monday on a three-week funding extension that reopened government offices.
Some congressional Democrats and many liberal groups, including immigrant rights advocates, criticised Schumer for agreeing on the funding extension without any tangible immigration concessions.