Schumer: Trump should want COVID-19 deal to help GOP election chances

Schumer: Trump should want COVID-19 deal to help GOP election chances
© Bonnie Cash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats blast Trump after report reveals he avoided income taxes for 10 years: 'Disgusting' Biden refuses to say whether he would support expanding Supreme Court Schumer says Trump tweet shows court pick meant to kill off ObamaCare MORE (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Ocasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Third judge orders Postal Service to halt delivery cuts MORE should try to cut a deal on more coronavirus relief to help Republicans' electoral prospects in November. 

"The person who should really want something to happen actually is Trump because if the economy goes to hell in a handbasket, which it will do if we don't pass anything, he's finished. He may be finished anyway, but he's certainly finished if that happened," Schumer said during an interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes.

When Hayes said he thought the GOP strategy, with several Republicans blasting their own party's proposal, was "bizarro," Schumer added: "It is." 

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"They are so enthralled by the right-wing ideologies, who say don't spend any government money, that they're not even doing what would be ... in their own self-interest. So you're right. It is bizarre. It is totally bizarre. But they are totally at war with themselves," Schumer said. 

Schumer's comments come as the $1 trillion Republican coronavirus package, which was negotiated by a core group of GOP senators and the administration, has sparked high-profile divisions within the caucus. The proposal is the GOP's opening offer in negotiations with Democrats on the final bill. 

Democrats believe they have leverage in the negotiations as coronavirus cases climb across the country and Trump, and GOP senators in tough reelection bids, face a slew of troubling polls. 

“I think Republicans are reading the polls. The president is slumping, their Republican Senate candidates are slumping in the polls. They have to show something," said Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGOP senators confident Trump pick to be confirmed by November Sunday Shows: Trump's court pick dominates Durbin: Democrats can 'slow' Supreme Court confirmation 'perhaps a matter of hours, maybe days at most' MORE (D-Ill.), Schumer's No. 2.

Schumer added during the MSNBC interview that Democrats have "a lot of leverage and we ain't afraid to use it."

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"We don't have a majority in the Senate and we can't pass it alone, but we have a lot of leverage and we're going to use it," he said. 

But the bipartisan negotiations are off to a slow start, so far, with the administration saying Democrats are drawing a red line on continuing the $600-per-week unemployment increase and Democrats saying Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP senators confident Trump pick to be confirmed by November Trump's Teflon problem: Nothing sticks, including the 'wins' Senate Republican says lawmakers can't 'boil down' what a Court nominee would do in one case like Roe v. Wade MORE's (R-Ky.) demand that liability protections be included in the bill suggests the GOP leader doesn't want an agreement.

McConnell, leaving the Capitol for the day, doubled down on including liability protections from coronavirus-related lawsuits in the final agreement.

"That will be in any bill that passes the Senate," he told reporters.