Top Democrat pushes Trump to throw travel ban "in the trash"

Chuck Schumer
Chuck Schumer 08:47

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants President Trump to abandon his executive order on immigration and start from scratch, following a federal appeals court’s decision not to reinstate his travel ban last week.

“I think he ought to throw it in the trash,” Schumer said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday. “I think this executive order is so bad and so poison and its genesis is so bad and terrible that he ought to just throw it in the trashcan.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer: Immigration 07:31

The New York Democrat said the order, which pauses the U.S. refugee program and refuses entry into the country to citizens from seven predominantly Muslim nations, doesn’t make Americans safer, is unconstitutional, and actually hurts the U.S. economy.

“A religious ban just goes against the American grain,” Schumer said. “We believe in immigrants in this country. And we don’t believe in a religious test.”

He added that Silicon Valley, which employs numerous immigrants, suffers in the wake of the ban. And the ban also fails to target other terror threats, like lone wolves or weaknesses in the visa waiver program that allows citizens from over 20 partner countries to enter the U.S. easily without the stringent process  of obtaining a visa.

Schumer addressed the recent North Korea ballistic missile test as well, saying that the foreign power was “testing” how far it could push President Trump so soon after his inauguration.

“North Korea has shown itself to be an irresponsible nation in every way,” he said. “And I’m sure they’re testing President Trump.”

He advised the president to issue a statement with South Korea similar to the one he gave standing with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Saturday evening.

“I was glad he issued the statement with the prime minister of Japan. But he also ought to do it quickly with South Korea,” Schumer said. “South Korea is probably more susceptible to North Korea’s virulence than any other country. And there was some doubt cast on the relationship in the campaign by then-Candidate Trump. So do the same thing with South Korea that he did with Japan. And do it quickly.”

The Democratic leader advised Mr. Trump to use China to put the pressure on North Korea.

Sen Schumer: North Korea 01:17

“They could squeeze North Korea economically,” Schumer said, noting that 90 percent of their imports and exports go through China. “And I think we have to tell the Chinese that they have to put the wood to North Korea in a much more serious way than they’ve done so far.”

Schumer weighed in on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch ahead of his Senate hearing.

He noted Gorsuch had not condemned President Trump for his comments attacking the judiciary branch, saying it showed the judge was not independent enough for a seat on the nation’s highest bench.

“We have a president who is overreaching dramatically, who shows little respect for rule of law, who seems to violate the Constitution in his first three weeks, and intimidates judges who have cases before them. This demands a new standard, a much more independent justice than in the past,” Schumer said. “I asked him would he publicly condemn what President Trump did with the existing judge, which any judge worth his salt should do. He refused.”

“You can’t behind closed doors whisper to a senator and then not say anything,” Schumer added.

The Democrat said that when he questioned Gorsuch specifically on what he would do in hypothetical cases involving religious bans, he received no satisfactory answer.

“I said, ‘If there was a law that said all Muslims are banned from the United States --  would that be unconstitutional?” That has nothing to do with the case before him or before us. Before the court,” Schumer explained. Gorsuch’s reported response: “He wouldn’t answer.”