Democratic leader Chuck Schumer: ‘We can’t just be anti-Trump’

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats clutter their own message to voters with a singular focus on President Donald Trump.

“We can’t just be anti-Trump,” Schumer said Wednesday on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time.” “He makes the anti-Trump argument himself.”

Schumer, of New York, said Democrats were instead building out their messaging and platform on issues like health care and infrastructure to rebuild a national coalition that can win, while their attacks on Trump in 2016 led to the party’s sweeping losses.

“In 2016, maybe there was too much emphasis just on negative Trump (messages),” Schumer said when asked about the perception of his party by many as elitist and disconnected.

Schumer argued that without a program that animated voters across the country, Democrats would continue to lose.

“If the Democrats can’t win both in New York and, say, the Great Plains, we’ll never be the majority,” he said.

But as he argued for Democrats demonstrating a substantial opposition to the Republican Party, Schumer declined to call on one of his party’s own to not embrace the Republican President.

West Virginia’s Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, facing a tough re-election fight in a state Trump won overwhelmingly, has offered kind words for the President, and according to a recent profile in Politico, even left open the possibility he could back Trump in 2020.

Schumer said he lets members of the caucus “come to their own decisions” and backed Manchin’s approach.

“Joe Manchin is a guy who likes to talk to everybody and listen to them and almost inevitably, he does what’s right for West Virginia,” Schumer said.