Trump Praises Chuck Schumer In Reposted Tweet That First Called Him ‘Cunning’

Trump’s tweet referred to retiring Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who has regularly blistered Trump from the Senate floor.

When it comes to Schumer, not only has Trump had a good relationship with him, but he and his family have donated nearly $20,000 to the New York lawmaker’s past campaigns.

Yet Schumer is in a historically precarious position with Trump.

He is the first Jewish lawmaker ever to lead a party in Congress. And his elevation comes as Trump’s own rise was spurred along in part by racism and anti-Semitism. That aspect of Trump’s success inspired hundreds of Jewish scholars to declare last week that “our reading of the past impels us to resist any attempts to place a vulnerable group in the crosshairs of nativist racism.” 

Schumer’s own knowledge of the past includes very personal reminders of what anti-Semitism has wrought. His grandfather came to the United States long before the Holocaust, but his great-grandmother stayed behind in Eastern Europe, and was there when Hitler’s forces arrived.

“They gathered them all on a porch in the Ukraine,” Schumer recalled Friday during an interview with The Huffington Post. It was 1941 or 1942. “They said, ‘All come here.’ They said to my great-grandmother, ‘You all have to come with us.’ She said, ‘No, we’re not moving.’ They machine-gunned them all down, 17 or 18 of them, kids, old people, every one of them.”

He has heard a Trump adviser speak approvingly of America’s imprisonment camps for Japanese-American citizens during the war.

“It sends shivers down your spine,” Schumer said.

He’s also well aware that the man Trump has named as his top White House counselor and political adviser is Steve Bannon, whose Breitbart News website was a virtual platform for white nationalists during the presidential campaign.

“The bigotry — I mean, take Bannon. Breitbart News trafficked in bigotry almost every week, and it’s just appalling that this guy’s in a high-up position in the White House,” Schumer said.

But he pointed to the strength of the American system as a reason that a racist, white nationalist government will not take hold.

“Barack Obama talked to Trump, and said the presidency is sobering,” Schumer said. “Trump has an obligation — any time any bigotry comes out of anyone near him, including people he’s appointed — he’s got to condemn it strongly. We’ll see if he does.”

Schumer agreed that Trump has not condemned the bigotry so far.

“Nope,” he said, promising that he and Democrats would. “We will. We’ll be really strong on that stuff.”

Children of Schumer’s era in his Brooklyn neighborhood — and many still today — are taught of the Holocaust and warned that it can happen again.

“I have enough faith in the American structure, in the American people. As long as we’re strong and vigilant and not afraid, that it won’t happen here,” Schumer said.

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