Schumer Asks Trump to 'Break from the NRA...And Work With Us'

By Susan Jones | October 4, 2017 | 6:28am EDT
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer holds a news conference with other Democrats on Oct. 3, 2017. (Screen grab from C-SPAN)

( - Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told a news conference on Tuesday he's sent a letter to President Trump, asking for a meeting to discuss gun control.

"I have requested of the President to call us together, Democrats and Republicans, to come up with a reasonable solution. Before he was a candidate and marched in lockstep to the NRA, Donald Trump expressed a very reasonable position on gun control," Schumer said.

"In fact, he said after (superstorm) Sandy, he supported the kind of bills we support. Let's hold him to that. Break from the NRA, which is making things worse, and work with us to get something done. We need his help."

Schumer described the National Rifle Association, a group that supports Americans' constitutional right to keep and bear arms, as a swamp:

"Look, this is, I mean, this is the swamp. A small, powerful lobby that represents a vast minority, a very small minority of Americans, seems to have a stranglehold on the Republican Party. And, that shouldn't be.

"That's the kind of thing Donald Trump campaigned against. Let's see if he has the courage, the willpower, the strength to say I'm going to break with that small group and do something that makes common sense, and what Americans in overwhelming numbers -- Democrats, Republicans, and Independents want."

A reporter asked Schumer if President Trump is the key to breaking the "gun stalemate."

"Well, he's the most logical," Schumer said. "Our Republican colleagues in the Senate, despite the efforts bipartisan of Senators Manchin and Toomey, were unable to break it a few years ago after the horrible shootings in Connecticut.

"So President Trump again, it's -- it's really his responsibility to do this. As I said, in the past, he's been very reasonable about the gun issue. He ran for Republican president, he had to do what the NRA wanted him to do. But now, it would be an act of courage, strength, and popularity to do something. America is yearning for it."

Schumer began the news conference by criticizing President Trump's handling of the situation in Puerto Rico, particularly Trump's comment on Tuesday that the devastated island has ""thrown our budget a little out of whack."

"Mr. President, enough," Schumer said. "Stop blaming Puerto Rico for the storm that devastated their shores, and roll up your sleeves and get the recovery on track. That's your job as President. I don't remember the President telling Texas that they threw our budget out of whack after Harvey, or Florida after Irma."

Schumer and his fellow Democrats also blasted the Republican tax reform plan as a giveaway to the rich and a slap at the poor.

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