President Donald Trump appeared to partially blame the Manhattan terrorist attack on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s support for the “diversity” visa program Wednesday morning, but Trump’s tweet doesn’t get into the details of the New York lawmaker’s legislative record on the issue.
The Diversity Visa Lottery Program provides 50,000 visas to immigrants hailing from countries with historically low U.S. immigration.
The measure is the product of a bill introduced by Schumer in 1990 and later absorbed into a broader immigration bill that was eventually signed into law by former President George H.W. Bush. However, Schumer was also one of eight senators, commonly referred to as “the gang of eight,” who spearheaded an effort to pass a broad immigration reform bill in 2013 that would have eliminated the program.
The bill passed the Senate but was later blocked in the house by Republicans opposed to separate immigration concessions included in the legislation.
Trump referred to the program as a “Chuck Schumer beauty” in a Wednesday morning tweet and suggested Sayfullo Saipov, who arrived in the country from Uzbekistan in 2010, utilized it.
The terrorist came into our country through what is called the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program,” a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
Trump’s claim that Saipov entered the country through the diversity lottery echoes a Tuesday night ABC7 report,which indicated he utilized the program, but the information has not been confirmed.
Schumer quickly issued a harsh rebuke, lambasting Trump for politicizing the tragedy and calling on him to rescind proposed cuts to anti-terrorism funding.
“President Trump, instead of politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of national tragedy, should be focusing on the real solution — antiterrorism funding — which he proposed cutting in his most recent budget,” Schumer said in a statement. “I’m calling on the president to immediately rescind his proposed cuts to this vital antiterrorism funding.”
Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, an outspoken critic of Trump, quickly came to his colleague’s defense on Twitter, highlighting Schumer’s support for the 2013 immigration reform bill that would have done away with the diversity visa program.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) November 1, 2017
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