What could be behind President Trump's recent dealmaking with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)? Maybe something as simple as personal affection.
“He likes us,” Schumer remarked to a colleague Thursday, in an exchange that was picked up, in part, by a hot mic and aired by C-SPAN2.
Though the full conversation could not be heard on the broadcast, “us” was undoubtedly a reference to the Democratic leaders, with whom Trump struck a bargain last week to raise the debt ceiling and with whom he is working on a plan to grant long-term deportation protection to DACA recipients.
The Washington Post previously reported that Trump and Schumer also have reached a “gentlemen's agreement” to pursue legislation that would permanently remove the requirement that Congress repeatedly raise the debt ceiling.
Schumer suggested in the comments caught on a hot mic that his connection with the president is particularly strong. “He likes me, anyway,” Schumer said of Trump.
“Here's what I told him,” Schumer continued, apparently recounting a Wednesday-night conversation in which he, Trump and Pelosi discussed immigration. “I said, 'Mr. President, you're much better off if you can sometimes step right and sometimes step left. If you have to step just to one direction, you're boxed.' He gets that.”
“It's going to work out,” Schumer added a moment later, “and it'll make us more productive, too.”
The Drudge Report highlighted Schumer's remarks in a cluster of headlines about Trump's sudden cooperation with Democrats and splashed a banner that read “DREAM TEAM” under side-by-side photographs of the president and Pelosi.
Judging by Drudge's image selection — he picked a picture in which Pelosi was caught mid-blink — the label was not a genuine compliment.
On a day when conservative commentators were lamenting what many interpreted as Trump's ideological betrayal — he made the case for allowing DACA recipients to remain in the United States and told reporters that “the wall will come later” — Schumer's comments were salt in the wound. They suggested Trump is so capricious that major policy actions could be decided not by what the president believes in but rather by whose company he enjoys.