Trump praises Chuck Schumer, says his appointment to leadership of Senate Democrats is 'good news'

Donald trumpDrew Angerer/Getty ImagesPresident-elect Donald Trump in New Jersey.

President-elect Donald Trump offered praise for incoming Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

In a tweet on Sunday that coincided with Schumer’s interview on “Meet The Press,” Trump claimed that Schumer was smarter than outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, and said Schumer’s appointment to the post was “good news.”

“I have always had a good relationship with Chuck Schumer. He is far smarter than Harry R and has the ability to get things done. Good news!” Trump wrote.

For his part, Schumer attempted to distance himself from the president-elect.

Though Schumer told “Fox News Sunday” that he’d spoken with Trump several times since the election, during an interview on “Meet The Press,” the incoming senate minority leader emphasised that he did not know Trump particularly well, and pledged to oppose him.

“We see each other occasionally at events in New York,” Schumer said. “But I really didn’t know him very well.”

Pressed, he added: “I learned far more about him in the campaign. I was troubled by a whole lot of things in the campaign.”

Still, Schumer also pointed out areas where Trump’s campaign promises appeared to align more with Democratic policy proposals than Republican ones.

“Surprisingly, on certain issues, candidate Trump voiced very progressive and populist opinions. For instance, getting rid of the carried interest loophole, changing our trade laws dramatically, a large infrastructure bill,” Schumer said.

He added:

“But on issues where our values are at stake, where the president goes in a divisive direction, where his campaign did before, we’ll go against him and with everything we’ve got. We’re not going to repeal or help him repeal Obamacare. We are not going to roll back Dodd-Frank. I think they should forget about that. We have 60 votes to block them. We’re not going to help him build his wall. We have a comprehensive immigration reform bill that builds in much tougher border security and it had bipartisan support than he’s ever called for. So we’re not going to oppose him just because it’s Trump. But we’re certainly going to stick to our values and oppose him wherever he opposes those.”

Despite Schumer’s attempt to distance himself from the president-elect, Trump has repeatedly mentioned his ties to Schumer, who he has known for years.

Schumer has received more donations from Trump than any other lawmaker has. Several members of Trump’s family, including Ivanka Trump, her husband Jared Kushner, and Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., also donated to Schumer’s senate campaigns.

“I mean, I’ve contributed to Schumer, I contribute — I’ve known Schumer for many, many years,” Trump said last year. “And I have a good relationship with him. The fact is, that I think it is time maybe that we all do get along.”

And during the Al Smith dinner in New York in October, Trump joked that Schumer “used to love me when I was a Democrat.”

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