Schumer: Trump showed 'basic lack of competence' on health care bill

PHOTO: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 2, 2017.PlayYuri Gripas/Reuters
WATCH Schumer to Trump: 'You cannot run the presidency like you run a real estate deal'

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized President Donald Trump after the GOP-backed health care bill failed to garner enough support for a vote on the House floor Friday, saying the president showed two unhelpful traits during negotiations.

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"The first is basic lack of competence," Schumer told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos during an exclusive interview on “This Week” Sunday. "You cannot run the presidency like you run a real estate deal. You can't tweet your way through it. You can't threaten and intimidate and say I'll walk away. It's more complicated."

Schumer said the other failure of the GOP’s health care bill was that it gave too much to the rich instead of Trump’s working-class base – and predicted that any efforts on Trump’s next agenda item of tax reform that do the same will also fail.

"The president campaigned as a populist against the Democratic and Republican establishments. But he's been captured by the hard right wealthy special interests,” Schumer said. "That's who loved his proposal on the Trumpcare, because it gave huge tax cuts to the rich. If they do the same thing on tax reform, and the overwhelming majority of the cuts go to the very wealthy, the special interests, corporate America, and the middle class and poor people are left out, they'll lose again."

"The hard right is great at opposition. Now they're in charge. America is not where the hard right is," Schumer added on health care and tax reform.

After the White House-backed American Health Care Act was pulled from an anticipated vote Friday, Trump blamed Democrats for its failure, and specifically called Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California "losers."

"We had no Democrat support. We had no votes from the Democrats," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office Friday.

Schumer disagreed with Trump's assessment, telling Stephanopoulos the president "never called" Democrats about the bill.

"I would say this – we Democrats, provided our Republican colleagues drop replace and stop undermining the ACA, are willing to work with our Republican friends," the New York senator said, referring to Affordable Care Act. "We have ideas, they have ideas, to try to improve Obamacare. We never said it was perfect. We always said we'd work with them to improve it. We just said repeal was off the table."

Schumer added that Trump’s statement Friday that he would wait for Obamacare to "explode" rather than working to fix the law would backfire.

"For the president to say that he'll destroy it, or undermine it, that's not presidential. That's petulance," Schumer said. "The job of the president is to make Americans' lives better. And if he, out of anger or vengeance or whatever, starts undermining ACA, it's going backfire on him."

But the Democratic leader said he would be willing to work with the president on other issues if Trump changes his approach. "It's not me, it's him," Schumer said on "This Week. "He ran as a defender of the middle class. The minute he got into office… he moved so far to the hard right that it's virtually impossible for us to work with him. If he changes, he could have a different presidency."

Schumer also defended his promise to filibuster the president's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, telling Stephanopoulos, "60 votes should be the standard."

Schumer's threat to filibuster has led to talk of Republicans using the so-called nuclear option to confirm Gorsuch’s nomination, which would require him to be confirmed with a simple majority instead of 60 votes.

"If the candidate can't get 60 votes, if the nominee can't get 60 votes, you don't change the rules, you change the candidate," Schumer said.

Schumer also stood by his statement that Gorsuch shouldn’t be confirmed while the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election was ongoing, saying, “let's see where this investigation goes for a few months and delay it.”

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