Schumer says Trump off to “bumpy start” in NewsHour interview

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U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks with reporters after the weekly Senate Democratic caucus luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on Washington, U.S. January 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTX2XJZR

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks with reporters after the weekly Senate Democratic caucus luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on January 4, 2017. Photo by REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Between a visit to the CIA and a continuing focus on inauguration crowds, President Donald Trump’s first 72 hours in office have been “bumpy to say the least,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday.

In an interview with PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff, Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the thing Trump “has to realize is he’s [the] president, not a candidate.”

Schumer, who spoke during Friday’s inauguration, also discussed the president and congressional Republicans’ plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

“They want to keep the good things, and repeal it,” Schumer said. “But they don’t know how to do it.”

On Monday, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana introduced the first ACA replacement bill, which would allow individual states to decide if they wanted to continue providing health care options under the existing law.

Schumer said House Republicans would pose the biggest challenge to a replacement bill, because they’ll likely oppose any measure that boosts federal spending.

Still, Schumer said he was confident that the landmark health care law is here to stay.

It’s “very easy when they’re out of power to repeal it,” Schumer says. “Not so easy now.”

Schumer also touched on the Supreme Court vacancy.

Since President Trump won the election, Schumer has called on him to nominate a mainstream candidate to fill the court’s open seat. Senate Republicans don’t have the votes to block a filibuster of Trump’s nominee.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has made it clear he is not taking the “nuclear option” — a procedural move that would allow Republicans to confirm a Supreme Court nominee without a single Democratic vote — off the table

“The last two presidents have nominated four people to the Supreme Court,” Schumer said. “They all got bipartisan support.”

Schumer also offered a warning: If President Trump nominates someone from the “far right,” Schumer said, Senate Democrats “will oppose [the pick] with everything we have.”

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