ASHINGTON – Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer Monday delivered a "prebuttal" to President Trump's Tuesday night speech to Congress, portraying the president as a promise-breaker who has turned his back on his working-class supporters.
But if Schumer is correct, the biggest promise Trump and the Republican Congress are likely to break will be one they made to the GOP faithful: that they will repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
“I believe the odds are very high we will keep the ACA,” said Schumer, D-New York, in an appearance at the National Press Club with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "It will not be repealed."
Schumer said the angry response Republicans faced in recent town hall meetings will make it harder for them to repeal and replace the law they derided for years as "Obamacare."
"Who would have thought that one month after the fight over the ACA began, it's the Republicans who are in disarray, on the defensive," Schumer said.
Trump has promised to propose a replacement for Obamacare, but he has yet to reveal it.
“We have come up with a solution that’s really, really, I think, very good,” Trump told a group of governors on Monday. “It’s an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”
To hear Schumer and Pelosi tell it, though, Trump is a president who makes big promises – but fails to deliver.
“The president hasn’t done very much, but what he has done is forsake his promises to the middle class,” Schumer said.
Pelosi agreed, saying: "When the president talks about a mess, he's talking about his first 40 days in office, which he literally squandered."
Schumer noted that soon after he entered office, Trump made some mortgages more expensive by reversing an Obama-era policy, and that he also tried to overturn an Obama regulation that aimed to protect retirees from unscrupulous investment advisers.
Adding it all up, Schumer said that Trump has moved so far to the right that Democrats will have a hard time working with him.
Democrats originally thought they could work with Trump on a major infrastructure plan, but now Trump seems to be focusing on giving developers tax credits to build private infrastructure projects rather than taxpayer-funded roads and bridges.
“If it’s tax breaks, we’re not going to be for it,” Schumer said. “That kind of thing is a non-starter and I’ve told the president that.”
Trump is expected to lay out more of his plans in his 9 p.m. speech to Congress.
While Schumer and Pelosi portrayed Trump as a failure already, White House press secretary Sean Spicer indicated that the president and Congress will work together to boost the economy.
“He’s continuing to work with Congress on both repealing and replacing Obamacare (and) tax reform, and fundamentally, both of those two items alone, I think, can help spur a lot of economic growth,” Spicer said.