CNN) — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted President Donald Trump on Wednesday for casting blame on him in the aftermath of a deadly terror attack in New York, saying the President should “stop tweeting and start leading.”
“All President Trump does is to take horrible advantage and try to politicize and divide,” the New York Democrat said at a news conference in Washington, adding that Trump can’t refrain from his “nasty, divisive habits.”
Schumer contrasted Trump’s response to then-President George W. Bush’s response in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, terror attacks. In the aftermath of 9/11, Schumer said, Bush had him and other New York politicians over the White House the next day. The terror attack in New York that killed eight people Tuesday is the deadliest such attack since 9/11.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump sent a series of tweets blaming Schumer for an immigration program under which the alleged New York suspect, a 29-year-old Uzbek national, was allowed into the country in 2010.
“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty,” Trump tweeted. “I want merit based.”
He added shortly thereafter: “We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter).”
Schumer helped shape the 1990 legislation that created the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, but he also played a lead role in the 2013 “Gang of Eight” bill that that passed the Senate on a bipartisan basis and included removing the diversity lottery program. That bill was never picked up by the House.
The diversity visa has been contentious for years. The 50,000 visas, distributed by random selection among countries where there is a low rate of immigration to the US, were originally designed to diversify the pool of immigrants to the US. The visas offer immigrants green cards, permanent legal residence and a path to citizenship.
Schumer, echoing his earlier statements, called out Trump over anti-terrorism funding cuts in the proposed budget. He refused to comment on whether the diversity lottery program needed to be revisited — saying the details are not yet fully known yet about the suspect.
Schumer said he hopes Trump’s tweets do not have an impact on moving forward on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, which Trump said he would end last month, giving Congress a six-month window to pass a fix to the immigration program.