Trump attacks Schumer over NYC attacker and visa program
President Donald Trump on Wednesday laid the blame for the deadly attack at the feet of the Senate minority leader, saying a State Department visa program that he claims allowed the driver in Tuesday’s New York terrorist attack to enter the U.S. is a “Chuck Schumer beauty."
“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based,” Trump wrote online in a pair of posts. “We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter).”
“’Senator Chuck Schumer helping to import Europe’s problems’ said Col. Tony Shaffer. We will stop this craziness!” Trump added in a third post, referencing Shaffer’s appearance on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends.”
Eight people were killed and 11 more injured on Tuesday when a driver in a truck drove down a New York City bike path, brandishing air guns and yelling “God is great” in Arabic. The driver, who is in police custody, has been identified as Sayfullo Saipov, an immigrant from Uzbekistan who came to the U.S. legally in 2010.
New York’s ABC affiliate reported that Saipov came to the U.S. via the Diversity Visa Lottery, a program that offers visas to individuals from nations that otherwise have relatively few immigrants in the U.S. The program’s origins are based in a 1990 bill introduced by Schumer, who was then a member of the House, that was then absorbed into a larger immigration bill co-sponsored by 32 lawmakers, a group that included Schumer and six Republicans.
In a statement issued later Wednesday morning, Schumer accused the president of politicizing Tuesday’s attack and urged him to push for more anti-terrorism funding from Congress.
“I have always believed and continue to believe that immigration is good for America. 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 – anti-terrorism funding – which he proposed cutting in his most recent budget," Schumer said. “I’m calling on the President to immediately rescind his proposed cuts to this vital anti-terrorism funding.”
Later Wednesday morning, Schumer took to Twitter to criticize the president in a series of posts by drawing a contrast between Trump’s handling of the attack and former President George W. Bush’s response in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
“President Trump, where is your leadership? The contrast btwn Pres Bush’s actions after 9-11 & Pres Trump’s this am couldn’t be starker. President Bush, in a moment of national tragedy, understood the meaning of his high office & sought to bring our country together,” Schumer wrote. “After 9/11, 1st thing Pres Bush did was invite Sen @hillaryclinton & me to the White House & pledged to do all in his power to help our city.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed, telling CNN’s "New Day" that "the last thing the president or anyone else should do is politicize this tragedy… the last thing we should do is start casting aspersions on whole races of people or whole religions or whole nations. That only makes the situation worse."
Trump has argued for an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system, advocating for a dramatic cut in the number of refugees admitted by the U.S., “extreme vetting” of those entering the U.S. and the implementation of a merit-based system for immigrants.
Schumer and the president have clashed frequently throughout Trump’s first months in office, with the president pinning multiple nicknames on the Senate minority leader, including "head clown" and "cryin’ Chuck Schumer," in response to criticism from the New York senator. But the pair has also shown glimmers of being able to work together, most notably in September when it seemed Trump had struck a deal with Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on an immigration deal.
Schumer was caught on a hot C-SPAN microphone at the time, remarking that "he likes me," an apparent reference to his negotiations with Trump. The warm feelings appear to have been short-lived though and the immigration deal that had apparently been struck has stalled, if not fallen through completely.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday expressed condolences to the victims, noting that a Belgium citizen was killed in the attack.
“Once again, we’ve seen the evil face of terror in our own borders, but this is a face that knows no borders, and certainly Belgium, Europe and other countries have to deal with this evil that confronts us from time to time,” he said.
via Politico http://politi.co/2lnbIsw
November 1, 2017 at 05:37AM