In a 10-minute interview on MSNBC Tuesday evening, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer attempted to explain to a skeptical Rachel Maddow why his caucus didn’t bungle efforts to secure protections for DACA recipients by acceding to Republicans’ demands to reopen the federal government after only two and a half days of negotiation.
During the interview, Schumer argued that Democrats “cut the best deal possible” and promised to hold Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “feet to the fire” when entering negotiations this week over immigration reform. McConnell promised Democrats last weekend that he would bring a bill to the Senate floor that dealt with DACA. Schumer admitted, however, that he had no concrete way of making McConnell keep his promise. “Is there a guarantee that McConnell keeps his word? No,” he said.
Schumer also wound up claiming that people don’t really care enough about long-term immigration reform to make it a sticking point worthy of a government shutdown. According to a partial transcript of the interview published by The Hill, Schumer told Maddow that Democrats “don’t have a magic wand,” but that “if [Senate Democrats] became the majority next year, if the House becomes the majority, we will get DREAMers.”
All of us in the Democratic caucus—not just the moderates but the liberals as well—came to the view that if we carry [the shutdown] on much longer, A) No one would budge. The public would lose support for the shutdown—the public does not love shutdowns—and we would actually lose support for DREAMers too, because people love the DREAMers but don’t want the government shut down [over it].”
Shortly after the interview, esteemed president and executive tweeter Donald J. Trump published a tweet celebrating the “humiliating defeat” of “Cryin’ Chuck”—a pejorative he fashioned after Schumer delivered a teary-eyed speech last January in response to Trump’s proposed ban on accepting Muslim refugees.