WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) won the race to lead the Democratic caucus in the next Senate after the retirement of current Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) will keep his post, and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) will be the No. 3 Senate Dem as assistant Democratic leader. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) will be secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference; Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) will be the new vice chairs of the Senate Democratic Conference.
And Schumer also named Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to the Dems’ leadership team: as outreach chairman.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) will lead the Democratic Policy and Communications Center, making her fourth in Dem Senate leadership. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will be vice-chairman of the committee.
Outside of the leadership vote, Schumer told reporters that he’s spoken to President-elect Donald Trump “a couple of times.”
“And I told him just what I told you. When we can agree on issues, then we’re going to work with them. We’re not going to just, as some have done here in the past, say just because it’s President Trump’s idea or thought, we’re going to oppose it per se. Where we can work together, we will,” Schumer said.
“But I’ve also said to the president-elect on issues where we disagree, you can expect a strong and tough fight, and some of those issues I named. And that’s how the relationship’s gonna be.”
Schumer said Monday that Trump’s choice of Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon as his chief advisor “signals that many of his dangerous and bigoted ideas will have a seat at the table in the White House.”
“The things he’s said are reprehensible and I just — we’re going to keep a really careful eye on the president and on him. If they do anything from this day forward — they’ve done so much awful from this day back and we’re going to go after them in terms of bigotry,” Schumer vowed today.
Asked about lessons learned from Election Day, the incoming Dem leader said, “We needed a much sharper, bolder, stronger economic message. And we needed to let the American people understand what we all believe, that the system’s not working for them. And we’re going to change it.”
The new top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee will be Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), for the express purpose of screening Trump’s Supreme Court nominees.
“Dianne Feinstein has huge respect in the caucus,” Schumer said. “She will be a superb ranking member and she’s going to have a very important job, making sure that every aspect of the president’s nominee is explored and brought before the public.”