Schumer Signals Willingness To Work With Trump But Promises Accountability In Speech

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer laid out his plan for congressional Democrats in a speech Tuesday, saying that he is willing to work with President-elect Donald Trump, but that he will hold Trump accountable to several of his campaign promises.

“We Democrats lost the election. It’s a result many of us did not expect,” Schumer said. “It’s easy to blame the results of elections on outside forces,” but that Democrats need to “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,” Schumer said. The senate minority leader said that senate Democrats need to recommit themselves to a party that is committed to “the common man, to economic fairness for the American worker, to opportunity and prosperity for the American middle class and those trying to get there.”

Schumer said that the Democrats won’t just rubber-stamp legislation proposed by Trump but that, “if the president-elect proposes legislation on issues like infrastructure and trade and closing the carried interest loophole, for instance, we’ll work in good faith to perfect and potentially enact it.” 

The New York senator has previously said that that he likes the sound of the president-elect’s proposal for a trillion dollar infrastructure plan.

“But when he doesn’t, we will resist,” he added. “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 the president-elect promised so much.”

Schumer attacked Trump for promising to protect Medicare and Social Security on the campaign trail but then “tapping an avowed critic of Medicare” to be his secretary of Health and Human Services.

He said “campaign themes are quickly being abandoned. He said he was going to unrig the system. So far it looks rigged.” He added Trump will not be successful if he abandons a change doctrine and embrace the “same hard right doctrine positions that many in the Republican Party have held for years.”

The Senate Minority Leader went on to say that Trump could accomplish a lot of positive things, such as better care of veterans and infrastructure investments, but that these changes can’t come through tweets. “Making America great again requires more than 140 words per issue,” Schumer said.