Chuck Schumer says government will remain open if Trump “stays out” of negotiations

As the U.S. inches closer to another partial government shutdown over funding for President Trump’s border wall, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Republicans and Democrats would be able to reach an agreement to keep the government open so long as the president stays out of the negotiations.

“The committees are making progress. The president’s got to stay out of it. We can get it done,” Schumer said on “CBS This Morning” Wednesday, the morning after Mr. Trump’s second State of the Union address. “We’ve set it up so that Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate, can come to an agreement and keep the government open. And if the president stays out of it, they’re very likely to come to a good agreement.”

While Mr. Trump stressed unity in his speech Tuesday night, his first to a Democratic-held House, he maintained his hardline stance on the issues that have divided the parties and vowed to build a wall along the southern border. He called illegal immigration a “moral issue” that more than any other “illustrates the divide between America’s working class and America’s political class.”

Schumer called that proclamation a contradiction given that the president also touted the “5.3 million new jobs” that have been created under his leadership.

“On the one hand, he’s saying that we have more jobs than we’ve ever had before. And on the other hand, he’s saying illegal immigration is taking away all our jobs. As usual, the speech is just filled with total contradictions that don’t add up … We all want to secure our border, but it’s not a crisis. It doesn’t demand a government shutdown, and the president paid the price,” Schumer said.

Mr. Trump seemed to issue a threat to Democrats in his Tuesday night address when he said, “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation,” a possible reference to the new authority House Democrats have to investigate the administration.

“That line, like so much of the speech just was partisan and self-serving,” Schumer said. “I took it that the president’s scared. The bottom line is that we are, as a country, we’ve always had Congress do oversight over the executive branch. That’s how the Founding Fathers set it up.”

Mr. Trump also announced his plans for a second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the end of the month in Vietnam. Asked if the president deserves credit for bringing the reclusive regime to the negotiating table, Schumer said “no” in part because of reports that North Korea still has its nuclear weapons and may be building others.

“It’s sort of a metaphor. The president says one thing, and the reality is another. He said after he first met with Kim Jong Un that … we’ll have no nuclear North Korea. Of course that’s not true.”

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