National Press Club

Pelosi and Schumer decry Trump administration's first 40 days

February 27, 2017 | By Lorna Aldrich | lorna2@verizon.com

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (left) and House Democrat                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ic Leader Nancy Pelosi hoist National Press Club mugs given them by Club President Jeffrey Ballou (center) following their appearamce at an NPC Newsmaker Feb. 27.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (left) and House Democrat ic Leader Nancy Pelosi hoist National Press Club mugs given them by Club President Jeffrey Ballou (center) following their appearamce at an NPC Newsmaker Feb. 27.

Photo/Image: Al Teich

President Donald Trump has done little in his first 40 days in office, charged the top two Democratic Congressional leaders at a National Press Club Newsmaker event Feb. 27. And even that little, they said, has favored the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.

The appearance by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.)and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) at the Newsmaker was billed as a "prebuttal" for the president's joint appearance before a nationally televised joint session of Congress Feb. 28.

"The first month of a Trump presidency is less of a bang and more of a whimper, Schumer said, "but what he has done so far has shifted the burden off of the special interests and onto the working families."

Schumer said he takes pride in the way Senate Democrats have stood up to the president since the election, even though he admitted he was "down in the dumps" just afterwards.

In particular, Democrats have maintained a united front on the Affordable Care Act, with not one defection, while the Republicans' "internecine" warfare has been "on full display," he said. He added that the Republicans are "in a pickle" over ACA, which they have vowed to repeal and replace.

"The odds are very high that we will keep the ACA," Schumer said.

Furthermore, he said that the Democrats have exposed the cabinet as "a swamp cabinet of billionaires and bankers ... whose views are a betrayal of what Donald Trump promised in the campaign."

Pelosi deplored the Trump administration's "brutal agenda to target vulnerable populations and instill fear." The "cruel deportation dragnet," as she termed Trump's executive order to increase the number of undocumented immigrants prioritized for deportation, is an attempt by the administration to deflect attention from its failure to advance its job agenda and from questions about its relationship with Russia.

She called Trump "deflector in chief."

She asked what the Russians could have on Trump that he would consider lifting sanctions against them for their aggression in Eastern Europe. She called for an independent commission to investigate the personal, political and financial ties between Trump and the Russians.

Schumer addressed a question on immigration by pointing to a plan he developed jointly with Sen. John McCain (R, Ariz.) that passed the Senate but not the House. It addressed future illegal immigration and offered a fair but difficult path to citizenship for those here now, he said.

He called immigrants the "future and hope of America." If all immigrants were removed from the country, he said, the economy would take a "dramatic drop."

Pelosi pointed to pro-immigrant attitudes of presidents since Ronald Reagan, saying Trump's position has been a "complete departure" from recent decades.

In response to a question on science, Pelosi counted four solutions to the country’s problems: "Science, science, science and science." In particular, she said, science can address problems with the environment, national security and the economy.