Dem strategist says party's leaders struggle to relate to Americans

Democratic strategist Andrew Feldman said Wednesday that Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Democrats will 'certainly' beat Trump in 2020 Kavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Lewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing MORE’s (D-Calif.) response to President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE’s national address is a prime example of the party leadership's struggles to relate to the American public.

“Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer struggle across the country to relate to Americans and that’s a little bit concerning to me as a Democrat,” Feldman said during a panel discussion on “Rising.”

“We had this new opportunity to present these leaders differently and I feel like we’ve seen that image a lot of times,” he continued.

Following a speech by Trump making the case for his border wall late Tuesday, Schumer and Pelosi offered a brief rebuttal, which sparked jokes and memes across social media. The image of the pair standing side-by-side behind a podium drew comparisons to the "American Gothic" painting and a couple scolding their children. 

Feldman added that while he found the Democratic leaders’ response disappointing, he was surprised by Trump’s prime-time address. The Democratic strategist said it was more “toned-down” than he expected.

“I was a little bit worried that when I heard Stephen Miller was leading this speech creation that we were going to have something really outrageous,” he told Hill.TV, referring to Trump's senior policy adviser.

Even though Feldman argued that the speech was filled with “fear” and “falsehoods,” he said it did not contain some of the data points that Republicans have been using over the last few days concerning the number of suspected terrorists coming across the U.S. southern border.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol last year apprehended nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

However, many claimed that this statement was misleading — Sanders appeared to be referring to the number of stops the Department of Homeland Security made worldwide in 2017. 

According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data, officials encountered only six immigrants at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border whose names were on the federal government's suspected terrorists list in early 2018.

White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayObama, Bush among those paying tribute to Cokie Roberts: 'A trailblazing figure' Journalists, political heavyweights pay respects to Cokie Roberts: 'A pioneer for so many' Iran's supreme leader rules out talks with US at all levels MORE later acknowledged the mistake, calling it an “unfortunate misstatement.”

—Tess Bonn