Charles Schumer was born into a Jewish family on November 23, 1950 in Brooklyn, New York, where he was raised. He campaigned for Democratic presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy in 1968, and went on to earn an AB from Harvard University in 1971 and a JD from Harvard Law School in 1974. He passed the New York State Bar Exam in 1975 but never practiced law, pursuing instead a career in politics.
After serving three terms in the New York State Assembly from 1974-80, Schumer was elected in 1980 to represent New York’s 16th congressional district, defeating three-term Republican incumbent Alfonse D’Amato. During Schumer’s tenure (1981-99) in the U.S. House of Representatives, his district was renumbered twice—as the 10th in 1983, and the 9th in 1993.
In 1990, Schumer co-sponsored a diversity visa program that offered green cards to 50,000 applicants annually via a lottery system. As Breitbart.com reports: “Lottery winners undergo a State Department interview and health check, and can then bring their spouses and minor children to the United States and get them on a five-year track to citizenship. Once a winner and a spouse become citizens, they can import their parents, their in-laws and their children, plus the parents of their in-laws, such as the winner’s spouse’s sister’s husband’s parents. In turn, the relatives can later become citizens and import their relatives. The chain-migration process does not set any skill tests for admission…. Schumer’s diversity visa plan was included in the House-approved ‘Family Unity and Employment Opportunity Immigration Act of 1990‘ when it was combined with a proposal by a Democra[t] from Boston. The resulting ‘Schumer visa’ measure was included in the completed Immigration Act of 1990, which also raised the annual inflow of legal immigrants up from 500,000 up to 700,000.”
In 1994 Schumer and California Senator Dianne Feinstein authored the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act—commonly known as the Federal Assault Weapons Ban—a ten-year statute that outlawed semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and handguns possessing certain features.
In 1997 Schumer co-sponsored Congressman Matthew Martinez’s Job Creation and Infrastructure Restoration Act, which proposed to use $250 billion in federal funds for the establishment of union-wage jobs rebuilding infrastructure (e.g., schools, hospitals, libraries, public transportation, highways, and parks). Martinez had previously introduced this bill in 1995 at the the request of the Los Angeles Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs, whose leaders were all supporters or members of the Communist Party USA.
In 1998 Schumer was elected to the U.S. Senate. His candidacy was backed by the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, a Communist Party USA splinter group.
In subsequent years, Schumer also received support from the Working Families Party (WFP). On March 26, 2000, Schumer attended WFP’s national convention. In 2004, WFP attracted some 150,000 votes on its line for Senator Schumer.
In 2004, Schumer, while advocating civil unions for homosexual couples, opposed a same-sex-marriage amendment and stated that marriage should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman. But his views on this issue evolved dramatically over the next few years, and in March 2009 the senator announced his support for gay marriage, saying: “It’s time. Equality is something that has always been a hallmark of America and no group should be deprived of it.” In December 2009 he aggressively lobbied members of the New York State Senate who were undecided in their position on legislation designed to legalize gay marriage. And in 2013 he praised a Supreme Court ruling that struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. “The march to equality in America is unstoppable,” said Schumer.
In June 2008, Schumer wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal wherein he stated that the most effective way of preventing Iran from continuing to develop a nuclear weapons program, would be for the U.S. to work through the United Nations to impose “stronger economic sanctions” on the regime in Tehran. However, he noted, Russia had previously blocked the implementation of such sanctions for three reasons: “First, Moscow has a longstanding, close relationship with Tehran and regards itself as Iran’s protector. Second, the Russian economy benefits from its relationship with Iran by several billion dollars a year. Third and most important is leverage. Putin is an old-fashioned nationalist who seeks to regain the power and greatness that the country had before the fall of the Soviet Union.”
By Schumer’s calculus, “To bring Moscow on board we must make it an offer it cannot refuse.” A key component of such an offer, he said, would be for the U.S. to abandon the Bush administration’s plan — a plan that greatly displeased Russia — to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe. Wrote Schumer:
“Two years ago, under NATO auspices, Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania agreed to build an anti-missile defense site to thwart the threat of a nuclear missile attack by Iran. The threat is hypothetical and remote, and the Bush administration’s emphasis on pursuing the anti-missile system, without Russia’s cooperation, still baffles many national security experts. It also drives Putin to apoplexy. The anti-missile system strengthens the relationship between Eastern Europe and NATO, with real troops and equipment on the ground. It mocks Putin’s dream of eventually restoring Russian hegemony over Eastern Europe. Dismantling the anti-missile site, economic incentives and creation of a diplomatic partnership in the region — in exchange for joining an economic boycott of Iran — is an offer Putin would find hard to refuse. It is our best hope to avoid a nuclear Iran, because a successful economic boycott would certainly force the Iranian regime to heed Western demands more than anything attempted so far.”
“Barack Obama has abandoned the controversial Pentagon plan to build a missile defence system in Europe that had long soured relations with Russia. In one of the sharpest breaks yet with the policies of the Bush administration, Obama said the new approach would offer ‘stronger, swifter and smarter’ defence for the U.S. and its allies. He said it would focus on the threat posed by Iran’s short- and medium-range missiles, rather than its intercontinental nuclear capabilities. Obama … phoned the leaders of Poland and the Czech Republic last night to tell them he had dropped plans to site missile interceptors and a radar station in their respective countries. Russia had furiously opposed the project, claiming it targeted Moscow’s nuclear arsenal.”
Schumer has long supported the enactment of the so-called Fairness Doctrine, a federal regulation (abandoned by the Reagan administration in 1987) requiring equal time for the expression of different political views on the public airwaves. “The very same people who don’t want the Fairness Doctrine want the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] to limit pornography on the air,” Schumer told Fox News in November 2008. “I am for that. I think pornography should be limited. But you can’t say, ‘government hands off in one area’ to a commercial enterprise, but you’re allowed to intervene in another. That’s not consistent.”
In 2009 Schumer addressed the 6th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference at Georgetown University, where he emphasized the importance of border security to combat illegal immigration — a position he would reverse withing a few years. Among his remarks in 2009 were the following:
“[I]llegal immigration is wrong, plain and simple. When we use phrases like ‘undocumented workers,’ we convey a message to the American people that their government is not serious about combating illegal immigration, which the American people overwhelmingly oppose. People who enter the United States without our permission are illegal aliens, and illegal aliens should not be treated the same as people who entered the United States legally. Any immigration solution must recognize that we must do as much as we can to gain operational control of our borders as soon as possible.”
“The American people need to know that, because of our efforts in Congress, our border is far more secure today than it was when we began debating comprehensive immigration reform in 2005. Between 2005 and 2009, a vast amount of progress has been made on our borders and ports of entry. This progress includes … construction of 630 miles of border fence that create a significant barrier to illegal immigration on our southern land border.
Also during that same general time period, Schumer referred to illegal aliens as “criminals” and said: “One of the most effective things we do on the border is turn people back … they get up to the border and we find them and say, ‘go home!'”
In 2009-10, Schumer was a key supporter of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—i.e., Obamacare—calling it a “historic” bill that not only would “help over 30 million Americans … gain access to affordable health insurance,” but would also “cu[t] the federal deficit by $143 billion over 10 years and up to $1.3 trillion in the second decade.”
When the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in February 2014 projected that some 3 million people ultimately would stop working in order to lower their household incomes so they could qualify for Obamacare’s taxpayer-funded subsidies, Schumer countered by explaining that “many American workers” would now “have freedom … to do things that they couldn’t [previously] do.” “The single mom who’s raising three kids [and] has to keep a job because of healthcare,” he elaborated, “can now spend some time raising those kids. That’s a family value.”
On March 12, 2012, Schumer joined Al Franken, Tom Udall, and five other Democrat senators in writing a letter to IRS officials, urging the agency to give extra scrutiny to the activities of conservative “social welfare organizations” that were applying for tax-exempt status. The letter warned of “abuse of the tax code by political groups focused on federal election activities.” Fourteen months later, news broke that the IRS had been engaged in a massive scandal whereby it had delayed and derailed tax-exemption applications filed by hundreds of organizations with conservative indicators like “Tea Party,” “Patriots,” or “9/12” in their names. In a January 2014 speech to the Center for American Progress, Schumer, unfazed by the controversy over the IRS’s illegal abuse of power, said candidly: “There are many things that can be done administratively by the IRS and other government agencies” to thwart the political efforts of conservative groups.
In April 2012, Schumer introduced a bill designed to eliminate laws like SB 1070, an Arizona statute deputizing state police to check with federal authorities on the immigration status of criminal suspects. The senator charged that such laws would inevitably result in “untrained officers … arresting anyone and everyone who might fit the preconceived profile of an illegal immigrant.”
In 2013 Schumer led the so-called “Gang of Eight”—four Democrat and four Republican U.S. senators—in the push to pass a sweeping, 844-page immigration-reform bill aimed at giving provisional legal status to at least 11 million illegal immigrants and placing them on a path-to-citizenship. The other Democrats on the panel were Michael Bennet, Richard Durbin, and Robert Menendez. A Politico.com analysis noted that their proposal, if passed, “would transform the nation’s political landscape” by “pumping as many as 11 million new Hispanic voters into the electorate a decade from now in ways that … would produce an electoral bonanza for Democrats and cripple Republican prospects in many states they now win easily.”
When Republicans in Congress failed to support the Gang of Eight’s proposal in sufficient numbers to pass it, Schumer blamed that failure on the racism of “Tea Party elites” who, he said, opposed amnesty because they did not want want America to become “less white.” “Yes, things have changed,” Schumer elaborated. “White Anglo-Saxon men are not exclusively running the country anymore…. In a pre-Tea Party world, the Senate immigration bill would have been welcomed by House Republicans,. However, the Tea Party rank-and-file know it’s a different America. It looks different; it prays different; it works different. This is unsettling and angering to some.”
In February 2014, Schumer said that Congress should make amnesty available to all immigrants who had come to the U.S. illegally as recently as December 31, 2013. When some Republican lawmakers expressed reluctance to pass an immigration bill because they simply did not trust that President Obama would enforce it, Schumer said: “There’s a simple solution. Let’s enact the law this year, but simply not let it actually start until 2017, after President Obama’s term is over.”
In December 2013 Schumer said that federal benefits for retired military veterans should be reduced, just as benefits for “civilian federal employees have been cut, cut, cut.” By contrast, Schumer opposed suggestions that Members of Congress should take a pay cut, lamenting that their salaries had not been raised “in a long time,” and that they were generally paying more for healthcare insurance than in years past.
In April 2014, Schumer, citing the need for “pay equity” for women, was the Senate Democrats’ chief political strategist in rallying support for the Paycheck Fairness Act, rooted in the false premise that female employees were being paid less than equally qualified, equally experienced male workers.
In the immediate aftermath of the November 2014 midterm elections in which Republicans had increased their majority in the House and regained control of the Senate, Schumer said: “The president has no choice but to take executive action where he can, wherever it’s legally allowed, to help reform the immigration system. We cannot put up with this constant obstruction. We need to fix our broken immigration system.”
In July 2014, the Washington Examiner reported that during the three-year period ending in March of that year, Schumer had spent almost a million taxpayer dollars to have a private plane fly him from Washington, D.C. to his Brooklyn, New York home on 119 separate occasions. Only two other senators spent more than Schumer on trips to their homes during that period.
When some Republicans, in the wake of the February 2016 death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, suggested that they would block the confirmation of any replacement whom Barack Obama might nominate during the remaining 11 months of his presidency, Schumer condemned their “obstructionist” position: “We’re not going to go forward to leave the Supreme Court vacant [for] 300 days in a divided time,’” said the senator, adding: “When you go right off the bat and say, ‘I don’t care who he nominates, I am going to oppose him,’ that’s not going to fly.” But nine years earlier, in July 2007, Schumer himself had stated that no George W. Bush nominee to the Supreme Court should be approved during the remaining 18 months of his presidency, “except in extraordinary circumstances.” “We should reverse the presumption of confirmation,” said Schumer at that time. “The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts, or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito.” During the same speech, Schumer lamented that he had not succeeded in blocking President Bush’s prior Supreme Court nominations (Roberts and Alito).
During the second week of February 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested more than 680 illegal-alien criminals in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio, and the New York City area. Of the 41 people arrested in New York, 38 had previous criminal convictions. According to a New York Daily News report, those arrestees included: “a citizen of El Salvador with a criminal conviction for assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering and self-admitted MS-13 gang member; a citizen of Jamaica with a criminal conviction for first degree sexual assault of a victim under the age of 11; [and] a citizen of Mexico with a criminal convicted for first degree sexual assault of a victim under the age of 11.” Complaining about a lack of transparency in the recent arrests generally, Schumer said: “Targeting law-abiding innocent immigrant families whose only wrongdoing was crossing the border to give their children a better life, instead of focusing on removing those who have been convicted of violent crimes, is a waste of limited resources and undermines law enforcement in communities across the country. ICE must come clean.”
On March 2, 2017, the Daily Mail reported that Tanveer Hussain, a 24-year-old snowshoe racer from India whom Schumer had recently helped to gain admittance to the United States, had sexually abused a young girl during his stay in America. Said the report: “The U.S. embassy in New Delhi initially rejected Hussain’s visa application to come to the U.S. to compete in the World Snowshoe Championship, but Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand contacted the New Delhi embassy, which allowed the racer to reapply and he was granted a visa.”
During a July 24, 2017 speech in Berryville, Virginia, Schumer unveiled the Democratic Party’s new slogan, “A Better Deal,” in which the senator pledged: “[Democrats will] increase people’s pay … we’re gonna reduce their everyday expenses … we’re gonna provide workers the tools they need for the 21st century economy. Simply put — what do Democrats stand for? A better deal for working people, higher wages, lower costs, and the tools for a 21st century economy.” Throughout his speech, Schumer derided “corporate interests,” “the super wealthy,” “elites,” “special interests,” and “the powerful,” while he extolled the virtues of “working people.” He also described Democrats as “the party on the side of working people,” while claiming that “the Republican Party seemingly exists to work on behalf of the wealthy and the corporate interests.” In addition, Schumer said that “old-fashioned capitalism has broken down,” and that “Adam Smith has lost his way amid these big corporations.” Those remarks echoed what Schumer had recently told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in a television interview that had aired the day before: “Old fashioned capitalism has broken down…. The old Adam Smith idea of competition, it’s gone.” Schumer had further told Stephanopoulos that “vulture capitalism” was now domiating the American economic system.
Schumer was incensed by President Donald Trump’s response to the events of August 12, 2017, when a group of white nationalists and neo-Nazis held a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, ostensibly to protest the proposed removal of a statue of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a local park. Those demonstrators clashed with a leftist group of counter-demonstrators, many of whom represented the Marxist/anarchist movement known as Antifa, and one woman was killed when a young white nationalist rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. Shortly after the mayhem, President Trump condemned “the egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” in Charlottesville. In response, the left rose up like a chorus condemning the president for failing to specifically call out the instigators as “white supremacists,” and for choosing to assign blame not only to the supremacists but also to the Marxists and anarchists. Two days after that, on August 14, Trump specifically named “the KKK,” “neo-Nazis,” and “white supremacists” as objects of ridicule. But by then, it was too late to mollify Schumer and other leftists. Linking “the president’s shocking response to this national tragedy” with “the methodical and pernicious way in which his administration is … undermining the universal right of every American to vote,” Schumer said: “The Ku Klux Klan and its sympathizers at all levels of government denied black Americans the right to vote for decades. Today, voting rights are once again under assault.”
Schumer proceeded to call on Trump to close down his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which was investigating how to best deal with voter fraud. “[W]hat troubles so many Americans every bit as much as the president’s shocking response to this national tragedy is the methodical and pernicious way in which his administration is promoting discrimination, both subtle and not so subtle, in its policies and actions — especially when it comes to undermining the universal right of every American to vote,” Schumer said in a post on Medium.com. “Many of us found the Election Integrity Commission distasteful when it was first created,” he added. “The president’s recent failure to unequivocally condemn bigotry makes its rescission imperative…. Many of us found the Election Integrity Commission distasteful when it was first created. The president’s recent failure to unequivocally condemn bigotry makes its rescission imperative.”
In February 2018, Schumer stated that he would not vote for Trump judicial nominee Marvin Quattlebaum, because of the color of Quattlebaum’s skin. Said Schumer: “The nomination of Marvin Quattlebaum speaks to the overall lack of diversity in President Trump’s selections for the federal judiciary. Quattlebaum replaces not one, but two scuttled Obama nominees who were African American. As of February 14th, 83 percent of the President Trump’s confirmed nominees were male, 92 percent were white. That represents the lowest share of non-white candidates in three decades. It’s long past time that the judiciary starts looking a lot more like the America it represents. Having a diversity of views and experiences on the federal bench is necessary for the equal administration of justice.”
In March 2018, President Donald Trump’s Director of Legislative Affairs, Marc Short, denounced “the historic obstruction that we have faced by Sen. [Chuck] Schumer and Senate Democrats in confirming our nominees to enable us to fill out our White House” — a reference to the fact that the Democrats, in unprecedented fashion, had required a full 30 hours of debate over dozens of Trump administration nominees. “Sen. Schumer is essentially weaponizing a Senate procedure in demanding cloture votes on our nominees that he even eventually supports,” said Short. “Eleven of the President’s nominees have been confirmed without a single dissenting vote, yet still forced to go through 30 hours of debate to essentially slow down the Senate calendar, simply for the purpose of obstruction…. At this rate, the United States Senate would take eleven and a half years to confirm our nominees.”
In early 2020, Schumer was highly outspoken regarding June Medical Services LLC v. Russo, an active Supreme Court case centered around a 2014 Louisiana law that required abortion doctors in that state to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in case a patient were to experience any complications during or after a procedure. Supporters of the law claimed that it properly regulated — and ensured the competence of — abortion providers in a manner similar to how other medical providers were regulated by the state. Opponents, by contrast, cited Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt — a 2016 case in which the Supreme Court had invalidated a very similar law in Texas, claiming that the law would substantially reduce the number of available abortion facilities in the state and thus would place an undue burden on women seeking abortions.
But because the Whole Women’s Health ruling had been issued before President Trump’s appointments of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Schumer worried that the Court might now issue a contrary decision in June Medical Services. Thus, at a pro-choice rally which the Center for Reproductive Rights held in front of the Supreme Court building on March 4, 2020, Schumer accused Republican state legislatures of “waging a war on women” and placing reproductive rights “under attack in a way we haven’t seen in modern history.” Then, singling out and threatening President Trump’s two Supreme Court picks specifically, the senator said: “I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price! You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” In addition, Schumer stated: “We will tell President Trump and Senate Republicans who have stacked the court with right-wing ideologues that you’re gonna be gone in November, and you will never be able to do what you’re trying to do now ever, ever again!”
Shortly after Schumer had issued his threats, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts rebuked him in a written statement: “This morning, Senator Schumer spoke at a rally in front of the Supreme Court while a case was being argued inside. Senator Schumer referred to two Members of the Court by name and said he wanted to tell them that ‘You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You will not know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.’ Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous. All Members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.”
In May 2020, when the U.S. was battling the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic that originated in a Chinese virology laboratory in late 2019, Schumer blamed President Trump for having allowed it to spread in the United States: Said Schumer at a May 5 news conference: “He [Trump] spends half his time on blaming other people or other issues. You know, he’s now blaming China. Well, guess what, Mr. President, it doesn’t — even if it came from China, and even if it came from China only, why didn’t you do something about it?”
In the aftermath of the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd — a black man who had died after being abused by a white police officer in Minneapolis — a number of U.S. cities were overrun by violent riots. Shortly before 7 p.m. on Monday, June 1, President Trump, holding a bible, posed for a photo in front of Washington, D.C.’s St. John’s Church, which had been damaged in a fire set during riots the night before. Schumer subsequently said he was outraged by reports that police, so as to allow the president to walk to the church, had used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse from the area many people who were merely exercising their right to peacefully protest. Said the senator:
“Secretary [of Defense Mark] Esper, General [Mark] Milley should not allow the U.S. military to come within a country mile of these ugly stunts. The administration is using the military as a tool to intimidate American citizens, and the Department of Defense IG must immediately launch an investigation into how the U.S military was used and whether it was consistent with the laws of our nation…. There’s no one home at the White House and the lights are off. I fear for the future of our country, that in this time of immense difficulty, our president is only capable of contributing more division, more fear, more chaos.”
But Schumer’s account of the protesters and the manner in which they had been dispersed, was false. Tear gas had not been used, and many of the protesters were not peaceful. As the New York Post reports:
“The US Park Police on Tuesday said they cleared protesters from in front of the White House on Monday because they were attacked while attempting to install a new fence…. Park Police acting Chief Gregory Monahan … specifically denied a widespread claim that Park Police or another agency, such as Secret Service or the National Guard, deployed tear gas against demonstrators protesting the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police, as was widely reported and alleged, including by Trump’s presumed Democratic opponent Joe Biden.
“Officers did however use smoke canisters and pepper balls, which induce a stinging effect similar to pepper spray, he said. Moments later on 16th St directly north of the White House, there were loud bangs that appeared to be from police flash-bang grenades….
“The Park Police chief, whose beleaguered force was pelted with bricks and water bottles throughout Saturday and Sunday night, said that on Monday, officers advanced around 6:33 pm and ‘violent protestors on H Street NW began throwing projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids.’
“’The protestors also climbed onto a historic building at the north end of Lafayette Park that was destroyed by arson days prior,’ Monahan said.’“Intelligence had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches of glass bottles, baseball bats and metal poles hidden along the street. To curtail the violence that was underway, the USPP, following established policy, issued three warnings over a loudspeaker to alert demonstrators on H Street to evacuate the area. Horse mounted patrol, Civil Disturbance Units and additional personnel were used to clear the area.’
“Monahan continued, ‘As many of the protestors became more combative, continued to throw projectiles, and attempted to grab officers’ weapons, officers then employed the use of smoke canisters and pepper balls. No tear gas was used by USPP officers or other assisting law enforcement partners to close the area at Lafayette Park. Subsequently, the fence was installed.’”
In a September 30, 2020 interview with MSNBC’s Joy Reid, Schumer stated that “everything is on the table” if Democrats were to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, including making Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., states. “I’m not busting my chops to become majority leader to do very little or nothing,” he said. “We are going to get a whole lot done. And as I’ve said, everything, everything is on the table.” “I would — believe me, on D.C. and Puerto Rico, particularly if Puerto Rico votes for it, D.C. already has voted for it and wants it. I’d love to make them states,” Schumer elaborated. He also said that Senate Democrats were “using all the tactics we can” to slow down or block the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
On the afternoon of November 7, 2020 — shortly after America’s largest media networks had announced that Joe Biden had won the Electoral College vote in the disputed 2020 presidential election — Schumer, raising a clenched left fist for emphasis, told a jubilant crowd of supporters in Brooklyn: “Now we take Georgia, and then we change the world! Now we take Georgia, and then we change America!” (This was a reference to the two upcoming Senate runoff elections slated for January 5, 2021 in Georgia; if the Democrats could win both, they would gain control of the U.S. Senate.)
On January 4, 2021, Schumer went to the Senate floor and claimed that Republicans’ objection to the certification of the 2020 presidential election amounted to an attempted “coup” and an “insurrection”:
“It’s a very sad comment on our times that merely accepting the results of an election is considered an act of political courage. Sadder and more dangerous still is the fact an element of the Republican Party believes their political viability hinges on the endorsement of an attempted coup. That anyone, much less an elected official would be willing to tarnish our democracy to varnish to their personal political fortunes. This insurrection was fortunately discouraged by the leadership [Senator Mitch McConnell] of the majority party. But it was not quelled. It is a very sad commentary on our times that merely accepting the results of an election is considered an act of political courage.”
In reference to Republican objectors like Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, Schumer said: “They will embarrass themselves. They will embarrass their party. And worst of all, they will embarrass their country.”
In a January 12, 2021 press conference, Schumer insisted that “Donald Trump should not hold office one day longer,” blaming the President’s rhetoric for a January 6 incident where several hundred people claiming to be Trump supporters had temporarily occupied the Capitol building in Washington to protest what they viewed as a stolen presidential election. “[Trump] blamed the violence that he helped cause on others,” Schumer claimed. “He blamed the divisiveness that he regularly causes on others.” Asserting that Trump’s choice to “blame others for what he caused is a pathological technique used by the worst of dictators,” Schumer continued: “Trump causes the anger, he causes the divisiveness, he foments the violence, and blames others for it. That is despicable.” “As I’ve said,” the senator declared, “if he won’t resign and Vice President Pence and the cabinet won’t invoke the 25th Amendment, he will be impeached by the House, and as the law requires, tried by the Senate.”
During a January 25, 2021 interview on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, Schumer said that Democrats could make up for the large number of judges that had been confirmed by the Senate Republican majority during the Trump Administration, by adding seats at the district and circuit court levels. Maddow asked: “For decades, there will be — essentially, the judiciary will be stacked with conservatives. How do you try to make up some of that ground?” Schumer initially responded by noting that Democrats could fill judicial vacancies with 51 votes — 50 Democrat senators plus the tie-breaking vote by Vice President Kamala Harris — and then added: “Second, traditionally, we have increased the number in the lower and circuit courts. I have in the city of Buffalo a huge — they don’t have enough judges. There’s this long line before you can get to court. Because they don’t have enough. So, we could expand those, relative –”
“Well, Rev., we have one goal: big, bold change in America. We would like the Republicans to join us in some of those things at least, and maybe they will. But we are going to get that change no matter what. We cannot — there is such a demand, three huge issues we have to do: climate, huge issue facing the country, racial and economic inequality, which has gotten worse, not better, which demands change and justice in a big, bold way, and improving our democracy. Making D.C. a state, automatic voter registration, getting rid of Citizens United, all the things embodied in H.R. 1, which the House passed and McConnell would block up, but we’re going to fight to pass it in the Senate. That’s why we’ve made it S 1. So, climate, racial inequality, economic inequality, and democracy, improving our democracy, letting people vote much more easily, dealing with D.C. and Puerto Rican statehood, dealing with bad money that flows in. The John Lewis Act, undoing the horrible decisions the court made, which defanged the Voting Rights Act, and that’s why Republicans have gotten away with taking people’s right away to vote for the last four years.”
Sharpton then asked, “What about [ending] the [Senate] filibuster?” Schumer replied, “Well, as I’ve said, we will find a way to do big, bold change. And our caucus will sit down and figure it out, but failure is not an option. We must create change.”
At a March 16, 2021 press conference, Schumer spoke in part about the prospect of Democrats either dispensing with the Senate filibuster rule, or circumventing it by means of the budget reconciliation process (by which bills can pass by a simple majority and do not require 60 votes to overcome a filibuster). Among his remarks were the following: “[W]e Democrats, all of us believe we need big, bold change. As I’ve said before, we hope our Republican colleagues will work with us to produce that change. We will try to get them to work with us. But if not, we will put our heads together and figure out how to go. And everything is on the table…. [W]e’re going to try to work with Republicans wherever we can…. But we must get bold change. And if our Republican friends block it, we’re going to put our heads together and figure out the best way to go. Everything’s on the table. It’s plain and simple.”
For an overview of Charles Schumer’s voting record on key issues during his years as a legislator in the U.S. House and Senate, click here.