Adam Schiff Says Trump Politicizing NYC Attack

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) blasted President Donald Trump for using Tuesday’s terrorist attack in New York City “to push an agenda” while ignoring the fact that Democrats immediately politicized last month’s Las Vegas massacre.

When gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on Las Vegas concertgoers on October 1 and killed 58 people while leaving more than 500 others injured, it didn’t take long for the Democrats to renew their anti-Second Amendment push for gun control legislation.

But when Trump renewed his calls for "extreme vetting" and immigration reform, Schiff and the Democrats could not accept such politicization.

"I think it's kind of absurd in the hours after this terrible attack to be using it as a fulcrum for a debate that has been going on in Congress for completely different reasons," Schiff said Wednesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Radicalized New York City suspect Sayfullo Saipov immigrated to the United States from Uzbekistan seven years ago under the Diversity Visa Program. Trump used this information to push for further vetting measures.

"I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!" Trump tweeted Tuesday. "The terrorist came into our country through what is called the 'Diversity Visa Lottery Program,' a [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based."

"We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter)," Trump added.

But Schiff rejected the president's push for immigration reform while noting that he personally had never heard someone push for this kind of immigration reform through "a security argument."

"There are legitimate reasons to look at how much should we take immigration, new immigrants on the basis of diversity, how much on the basis of merit. There are lots of considerations there," Schiff said. "I've never really heard this made as a security argument. To use this tragedy in that way to push an agenda is not what the president ought to be doing right now."

But just one day after the Las Vegas shooting, Schiff took to Facebook to push gun control.

"Today, we mourn yet another mass shooting; tomorrow, we must refuse to accept the blood soaked streets of Las Vegas as an immutable fact of life in our nation. We must refuse to accept the idea that we are powerless to save the lives of our fellow Americans. And we must rededicate ourselves to do more than mourn the dead, but to fight to save the living," Schiff said in his statement on Facebook.

Schumer (D-N.Y.), whom Trump targeted in one of his tweets, also didn't take a particular liking to Trump's decision to "politicize" the New York City terrorist attack.

"I guess it's not too soon to politicize a tragedy," Schumer tweeted Wednesday.

But on the day after the Las Vegas shooting occurred, Schumer said during a speech on the Senate floor, "We cannot banish evil in the earth. Congress can't do that; the president can't do that. What Congress can do, what Congress must do, is pass laws to keep our citizens safe."

And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) penned a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) the day after the Las Vegas shooting to call for the creation of a "Select Committee on Gun Violence to study and report back common-sense legislation to help end this crisis."

"The bipartisan committee would make recommendations to prevent unspeakable tragedies such as the mass shooting in Las Vegas and to restore confidence in the safety of our communities," Pelosi wrote. "As members of Congress, our words of comfort for the families and victims of the Las Vegas massacre will ring hollow unless we take long overdue action to ensure that no other family is forced to endure such unimaginable tragedy."

Last Modified: November 1, 2017, 12:00 pm

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