WASHINGTON — Political peace should be brokered between President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer because bipartisanship will pave the way for Trump’s legislative agenda, Rep. Peter King said Sunday.
Trump saw his plan to repeal and replace Obamacare evaporate Friday after conservative House members rejected the bill he endorsed with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
No Democrat supported the legislation.
Trump’s next major checklist items — overhauling the tax system and investing heavily in infrastructure — cannot be accomplished without the Democrats, King told Newsday.
“If we think we can pass Republican-only legislation, it’s not going to happen,” he said. “It’s really time to reach out. Both the president and the speaker have to realize this.”
King is uniquely positioned as a potential intermediary between Trump and Schumer. The Seaford Republican served as a campaign surrogate for the president and nurtured a working relationship with Schumer (D-N.Y.) on issues such as homeland security funding for New York.
“President Trump is the ‘art of the deal,’ and Chuck Schumer is the ultimate New York dealmaker,” King said.
Schumer’s spokesman did not respond to a request for him to comment on King’s suggestion.
King downplayed the influence he may wield. He said he believes the Democrats shouldn’t be “held hostage” by the far left nor the GOP by the far right, because the majority of the country falls in the middle.
“I’m not arrogant enough to say I want to broker something, but I certainly want to get my voice in there,” King said, disclosing that he spoke with people close to Trump over the weekend about pursuing a bipartisan path, but hasn’t talked with Schumer.
“If they can work out something with Chuck — come to the peace table, get Chuck and the president to agree that they will agree to find a way to agree — that’ll be a big step,” King said.
Trump on Friday blamed Democrats after the House health care bill was pulled just before an anticipated vote, then predicted Obamacare would “explode” and Democrats would come to him. “Whenever they’re ready, we’re ready,” he said.
Schumer on Sunday told ABC’s “This Week” that the president’s “basic lack of competence” doomed the health care plan, but the senator said he would work with “our Republican friends” if they abandoned efforts to undermine Obamacare.