Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that President Trump’s warning about “ridiculous” congressional investigations during his State of the Union address showed that “he’s scared” and has “something to hide.”
Schumer’s comments came the morning after Trump threatened not to work with House Democrats on legislation if they move forward with impending oversight investigations of his conduct and personal finances, as well as alleged corruption in the administration.
Appearing on CNN, Schumer said the president’s words showed that “he’s scared.”
“He’s got something to hide,” the senator said. “Because if he had nothing to hide, he’d just shrug his shoulders and let these investigations go forward. He’s afraid of them.”
Since taking over control of the House, Democrats have vowed far more robust oversight of Trump and his administration.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday that she consider Trump’s comments a “threat.”
“Presidents should not bring threats to the floor of the House,” Pelosi said. “He said he wasn’t going to cooperate unless we didn’t exercise our constitutional responsibilities of oversight — the responsibilities that the ... legislative branch has.”
During his speech Tuesday night, the president said that “an economic miracle is taking place in the United States and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations.”
“If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation,” he added.
During a separate appearance Wednesday on “CBS This Morning,” Vice President Pence acknowledged that “congressional oversight is part of the checks and balances of our system.”
“What the president referred to last night was partisan investigations,” Pence said. “We don’t object to oversight. That’s the proper role of committees in the Congress. But when it takes on a partisan tint, when it seems more intent on becoming a forum for invective against the president and against the administration, the American people expect better.”
Trump has issued similar threats to Democrats before.
During a news conference on the day after last year’s midterm election, Trump said that any hope for bipartisan deals would evaporate if House Democrats used their new powers to investigate him or his administration. Such efforts, he said, would precipitate “a warlike posture.”
Mike DeBonis contributed to this report.