Transcript: Sen. Chuck Schumer’s remarks on the 60 vote threshold for Supreme Court confirmation

Partial transcript of Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-New York) press briefing remarks on Jan. 31, 2017:

Okay, good afternoon everybody.

Now, during the first week and a half of the Trump administration, the White House has been untruthful, incompetent, and at times un-American.

They’ve trafficked in alternative facts. They’ve signed unconstitutional executive orders. They have been haphazard and downright dysfunctional in running the government. They’ve inserted politics into the National Security Council and deprived it of independent military expertise…

They have fired the nation’s top law enforcement officer who rightly pledged fidelity to the law instead of obedience to the White House.

Every single one of these things if they were done by a Democratic president would have caused Washington Republicans to demand hearings, call news conferences, and railed against them on the floor of the Congress.

Republicans in Congress called President Obama a dictator for signing executive orders and those executive orders were legal. Now that it’s President Trump, they shrugged their shoulders and cower in silence.

If Obama’s executive orders shouldn’t have been promulgated and are an overreach of executive power, why are our Republican colleagues so silent when President Trump signs a much more significant and more likely unconstitutional executive order?

To our fellow Republicans, where are you? You don’t like executive orders, then where are your voices all of a sudden? Are they afraid of President Trump?

I mean, take it from me. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

A few Republicans have stood up to their party’s president but most have remained silent.

Republican railed against the president’s Muslim ban when he talked about it on the campaign trail. But now that it has the force of law, crickets.

Washington Republicans have left their courage on the campaign trail. As soon as President Trump raised his right hand and swore an oath, Republicans forgot how to stand up to him.

This president is running roughshod over the Constitution. He’s running roughshod over Republican values.

When – when – will Republicans finally stand up to him when he talks about things they have fought for their whole lives? I hope for the sake of the country they start now.

Question: [Inaudible]

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York):
We have no intention of getting rid of the 60 vote hurdle. We didn’t then. We didn’t now.

What speaks for itself is when we made a rules change after Republican obstruction, particularly on the DC Circuit, four vacancies and they wouldn’t fill them them, we explicitly put forward that 60 should stay on the Supreme Court.

And the reason for that is simple. We felt this is such an important position that it ought to be bipartisan and mainstream in terms of the nominee.

Question: [Inaudible]

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York):
I’ll be commenting on that after the president’s nomination, not before.

Question: [Inaudible]

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York):
Look, we have said all along we will be guided by our values. If tomorrow President Trump fulfills a campaign promise that says get rid of the carried interest loophole, we won’t block it because his name’s on it.

But our values are what matters to us. These cabinet nominees almost to a person, many of them – certainly the big eight, are against our values.

Repealing the ACA, against our values.

What he did – so that’s what we’re going to go by, plain and simple.

Question: [Inaudible]

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York):
Yes. Consider it a ban. And look, we still – the logic to it, if you want to – it makes America less safe. We know all the reasons it does. Sen. McCain outlined them. ISIS is gleeful that it’s passed.

The number one threat from terrorism in America are the lone wolves. Those are American citizens who are inspired by evil ISIS.

And John McCain has said, military experts, Democrat and Republican, have said this could isolate them further and encourage more of them to do terrorism.

From the seven countries that are on this list, not a single refugee has committed an act of terrorism in the United States. So there was no thought to it.

And is not it appalling that our defense secretary, our homeland security, and I believe our CIA director were not even consulted.

Secretary Kelly learned about it on the phone as he was watching it on TV. This is not how to run an administration. It’s incompetence of the highest order.

Question: [Inaudible]

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York):
…Every nominee to the cabinet should state their position on this horrible executive order, and Secretary DeVos was asked by Sen. Nelson to do so publicly. She has not. So I voted publicly against her. I will vote against every nominee who does not.

Question: [Inaudible]

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York):
…We want a mainstream nominee who gets bipartisan support. We hope that will happen tonight. We’ll see. That’s all I’m going to say on that…

Question: [Inaudible]

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York):
Look, these nominees as my colleagues have mentioned, all three, have tremendous, tremendous effect on people’s lives. The American people.

Our Republican colleagues are trying to rush these through.

You know, advise and consent doesn’t mean ram the nominees through.

Now, I know why they want to do it. These nominees are not what Donald Trump promised and not what represents American middle class values. They are billionaires. They are bankers. They are latent with conflicts of interests. Many of them have had very extreme views.

So of course the Republicans want to rush them through.

Our obligation, constitutionally, advise and consent is to thorough vet these nominees, and if it takes a little longer – they could be in office up to four years – and it makes sense to get their views out.

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Transcript: Sen. Chuck Schumer’s remarks on the 60 vote threshold for Supreme Court confirmation

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