The Deplorable Attack on Chuck Schumer

This morning the President of the United States joined efforts to blame the minority leader of the Senate for a terrorist attack in his home state.

As is often the case, Trump was following the lead of right wing media. Here’s Mark Levin on Sean Hannity’s show last night:

Breitbart published an article yesterday titled, “NY Sen. Schumer Created Diversity Visas Which Invited Alleged Killer to NY.”

And here is Sebastian Gorka tweeting last night:

That gives you just a taste of what’s going on here.

Of course, to blame Schumer for a terrorist attack in his home state is nothing short of deplorable. But if you are actually interested in the minority leader’s history on this program, Derek Hawkins and Samantha Schmidt have a good summary of the facts.

The [Diversity Lottery] program did originate in part in a bill introduced in 1990 by Schumer, who was then a member of the House. He proposed making a set numbers of visas available each year to “diversity immigrants” from “low-admission” countries.

Schumer’s measure was absorbed into a broader House immigration bill, which was sponsored by Schumer and 31 others, including several Republicans. The legislation passed in a bipartisan vote of 231-192. The Senate version, which contained the “diversity immigrants” provision, passed in an overwhelming 89-8 vote and was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush at the end of 1990.

The legislation had bipartisan support and was ultimately signed by a Republican president. But here’s the kicker:

The New York Democrat was part of the Senate’s Gang of Eight, which in 2013 came up with a sweeping bipartisan proposal to revamp U.S. immigration laws. Among other things, that proposal called for eliminating the diversity lottery. The bill passed the Senate but died in the House.

In other words, if Republicans hadn’t decided to use immigration as a wedge issue against Obama and the Democrats, the Diversity Visa Program would have ended four years ago…with the support of Sen. Chuck Schumer.

It might also be helpful to keep in mind that it hasn’t actually been confirmed that Sayfullo Saipov, who came to the U.S. from Uzbekistan, actually did so via the Diversity Visa Program. That hasn’t stopped the right wingers or their guy in the White House. Meanwhile, the senator under attack less than 24 hours after 8 people were killed in his home state had this to say:

I really have no idea why Schumer was chosen as the target this time. These things are usually directed at their favorites: Hillary Clinton and/or Barack Obama. But it is possible that we might be witnessing a switch from the past to the future, where the Republican Senate majority hangs in the balance. That’s just a guess. If I’m right, you can kiss any further attempts at bipartisanship goodbye and prepare for some extremely ugly attacks in the 2018 midterms.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.