NBC, CBS Tee Up Schumer to Announce Dem Obstruction Plan

In back-to-back interviews on NBC’s Today and CBS This Morning on Friday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was largely treated to softball questions that allowed him to advance the Democratic Party’s strategy to obstruct President-elect Donald Trump’s agenda.

On Today, co-host Matt Lauer promised to start the exchange with “the easiest” questions, wondering: “...what are you emotions today as you prepare to watch Donald Trump put his hand on the Bible and take the oath of office?” Schumer replied: “Well, I obviously wish there had been a different outcome.... But then I realized the importance of the role of we Democrats in the Senate. We are sort of the bulwark against some of the things that President-elect Trump might try to do that won't be acceptable to our values or the American people.”

Lauer followed up: “But what real power do you have to prevent some of the things he wants to do?” Schumer was eager to list the ways Democrats would try to stop Republicans:

Well, for instance, let's take a classic one, his secretary – the nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, [Tom] Price, wants to change Medicare as we know it, dramatically privatize our health care system. He'll need 60 votes for that. They won't get it. Then there are issue after issue, because of the way the Senate works, they'll need 60 votes. They're going to have to get Democratic cooperation. We'll see if they go for that.

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Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd jumped in: “You know, this is President Obama's last day in office. He seemed to signal he's not going to be – maybe quiet for a few week – but he's willing to speak out. What role – you're the operational leader of the Democratic Party – what role do you want now soon-to-be former President Obama to play?”

Schumer seized the opportunity to blast Trump: “Well, President Obama has said he wants to stay involved when core values are at stake. And he'll speak out on them, as you know. He's leaving office with very, very high numbers. He's well respected, much more than President-elect Trump is in this country. And he'll be a valuable voice.”

Lauer wrapped up the exchange by at least pressing Schumer on whether Democrats would be “the party of no”: “Just to make sure we understand, though. After eight years of railing against Republicans and calling them “the party of no,” your political strategy as Democrats now will not be to assume the mantle of the party of no? Even if it's effective?”

The New York Senator declared: “Our strategy will be, as I’ve said, when he works on things we agree with, we’re not going to oppose him because the name Trump is on it. But on most things – and this, if you look at the last month or two, he has moved way to the right and there’s going to be a lot more opposition.”

As the Today hosts listened to Schumer guarantee Democratic opposition, the headline on screen audaciously asked the question: “Can Trump Reach Across the Aisle?”

On CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King fretted to Schumer over all of Trump’s “name calling”: “It does seem to be getting off to a rocky start, Senator Schumer. You know, in the past, Donald Trump has called you the head clown. Are you going to be able to put that kind of name calling aside and work with him?... How do you think you all will be able to work together?”

In part, Schumer proclaimed: “When he opposes our values, no amount of name calling is going to get us to back off.”

At the top of the segment, fellow co-host Norah O’Donnell actually held the Democratic leader accountable for holding up Trump cabinet nominees: “Senator, let me ask you. We are in a dangerous world with threats....Is this an unnecessary delay tactic to delay the confirmation of the new CIA director? President-elect Trump wanted to go to the CIA on Saturday and meet with him. Get the ball rolling. Why the delay?”

Schumer dismissed the concern: “The CIA runs very, very well....A few days won't make a difference.”

Here are the questions put to Schumer on the January 20 NBC and CBS morning shows:

Today
7:34 AM ET

MATT LAUER: I know we all have a lot of questions for you. Let me start with the easiest ones, what are you emotions today as you prepare to watch Donald Trump put his hand on the Bible and take the oath of office?

(...)

LAUER: But what real power do you have to prevent some of the things he wants to do?

(...)                

CHUCK TODD: You know, this is President Obama's last day in office. He seemed to signal he's not going to be – maybe quiet for a few week – but he's willing to speak out. What role – you're the operational leader of the Democratic Party – what role do you want now soon-to-be former President Obama to play?

(...)

NICOLLE WALLACE: Donald Trump likes you a lot. Maybe more than he likes any Republican senator. But –  

CHUCK SCHUMER: So he says. Lately he hasn't liked me as much.

WALLACE: Well, but you have a personal relationship with him. And 60 members of your party are boycotting the Inauguration today. How will you bring them along when you see a strategic benefit to collaborating with this man that you have a personal relationship with?

(...)

LAUER: Just to make sure we understand, though. After eight years of railing against Republicans and calling them “the party of no,” your political strategy as Democrats now will not be to assume the mantle of the party of no? Even if it's effective?

(...)


CBS This Morning
8:16 AM

(...)

CHARLIE ROSE: We will see the confirmation today of Mattis and also Kelly?

(...)

ROSE: What about the Secretary of State nominee?

(...)

ROSE: Is it in doubt? Is it in doubt?

(...)

NORAH O’DONNELL: Senator, let me ask you. We are in a dangerous world with threats.

CHUCK SCHUMER: Yes.

O’DONNELL: Is this an unnecessary delay tactic to delay the confirmation of the new CIA director? President-elect Trump wanted to go to the CIA on Saturday and meet with him. Get the ball rolling. Why the delay?

(...)

GAYLE KING: It does seem to be getting off to a rocky start, Senator Schumer. You know, in the past, Donald Trump has called you the head clown. Are you going to be able to put that kind of name calling aside and work with him?

SCHUMER: Of course.

KING: How do you think you all will be able to work together?

(...)

KING: Is there room for compromise?

(...)

ROSE: Can you tell us whether there will be nominees for the cabinet this will not be confirmed?

(...)

NB Daily Congress Trump Inauguration Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Uncorrected Falsehoods Video Gayle King Matt Lauer Donald Trump Chuck Schumer

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