Schumer warns Democrats against 'circular firing squad' on health care

Schumer warns Democrats against 'circular firing squad' on health care
© Aaron Schwartz

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTurkey says soldier killed despite cease-fire in Syria Schumer calls for FDA to probe reports of contaminated baby food How Trump and Pelosi went from bad to worse MORE (D-N.Y.) on Thursday warned Democratic presidential candidates not to become so focused on the internal differences over health care that they lose sight of fighting against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE.  

In an interview with SiriusXM’s Joe Madison, Schumer cautioned against candidates turning into a "circular firing squad."

"If we get all focused on the differences between, say Bernie [Sanders] and Cory [Booker] and Mayor Pete [Buttigieg] and [John] Hickenlooper, we'll lose sight of the fact that it's Donald Trump who's now trying to reduce health care, destroy health care, get rid of it for everybody," Schumer said.

"That's a trap that we shouldn't fall into. No circular firing squads," he added.

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Schumer's remarks come after a divisive Democratic debate on Wednesday night that saw a number of battles break out over health care between former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Warren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisClinton attacks on Gabbard become flashpoint in presidential race Poll: Biden holds 10-point lead nationally over Warren Trump declines to participate in Weather Channel 2020 climate change special MORE (D-Calif.) and other candidates. 

The battles over health care and other issues during the debate were brutal enough that Booker at one point said the White House was surely enjoying the spectacle. 

Democrats running for president are struggling with divisions over just how far to the left their health plans should go. Progressives like Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Sanders: 'Outrageous' to suggest Gabbard 'is a foreign asset' Democratic strategist: Sanders seeking distance from Warren could 'backfire' MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Four companies reach 0M settlement in opioid lawsuit | Deal opens door to larger settlements | House panel to consider vaping tax | Drug pricing markup tomorrow On The Money: Trump dismisses 'phony Emoluments Clause' after Doral criticism | Senate Dems signal support for domestic spending package | House panel to consider vaping tax MORE (D-Mass.) support completely eliminating private insurance as part of a transition to single-payer "Medicare for All."

More centrist Democrats like Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetBennet: Warren 'not being honest about' her 'Medicare for All' plan Senate Democrats want Warren to talk costs on 'Medicare for All' The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges MORE (Colo.) and Biden are pushing to strengthen ObamaCare and want to offer a government-run insurance option while letting people keep their private plans if they want to.

Biden, Bennet and other moderates argue the massive cost of Medicare for All would bankrupt the government.  

Battles over health care also dominated Tuesday night's Democratic debate featuring Warren and Sanders, and on both nights there was only a passing acknowledgement of Trump and his continuing fight to overturn ObamaCare. 

Democrats ran on protecting ObamaCare in the 2018 midterm elections, and took control of the House. Senate Democrats are trying to hammer home the message that fighting Trump's "sabotage" of ObamaCare should be the immediate focus.  

"The difference between the Democrats is a little, the difference between Democrats and Republicans is huge," Schumer said. Democrats "are united in the broad sense in health care. Every one of us is for universal health care. ... Different people have different ways to get there."