Schumer: Democrats Are 'Big Tent Party' But 'Strongly Pro-Choice Party'

April 24, 2017

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y) claimed during a Monday appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that the Democratic Party is the "big tent party," despite other Democratic leaders saying that Democrats must be "unequivocal" on the abortion issue.

Co-host Joe Scarborough referenced House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's (D., Calif.) "Meet the Press" interview on Sunday, during which she dismissed those in her party who have said that pro-life Catholics could not be Democrats. Scarborough asked Schumer what he thought about her statement.

"Look, we're a big tent party as Nancy Pelosi said, but we are, let's make no mistake about it, we are a pro-choice party. We're a strongly pro-choice party," Schumer said. "We think that's where the American people are, and in fact, if anything, are moving even more in that direction."

"We're a big tent party," Schumer added.

Scarborough followed up to see if pro-life Catholics are included in the "big tent party," but co-host Mika Brzezinski chimed in to indicate that Schumer had already given his answer.

"That's his answer, Joe. Big tent party," Brzezinski said.

"I gave you my answer," Schumer said.

"That's a yes," Brzezinski added.

Other Democratic leaders have been outspoken against allowing pro-life Catholics in the party. Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) appeared Sunday on CNN, where he said that all Democrats must back the abortion Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade to be included in the Democratic Party, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

"I am committed to women's rights under the law, reproductive rights certainly, and our party is," Durbin said. "We've made that part of our platform and position for a long, long time. I know within the ranks of the Democratic Party there are those who see that differently on a personal basis, but when it comes to the policy position, I think we need to be clear and unequivocal."

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez is another Democrat who believes that there is no place for pro-life politicians in the Democratic Party, the Huffington Post reported.

"Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman's right to make her own choices about her body and her health," Perez said in a statement. "That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state."

"At a time when women's rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country, we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice," he said.

The Democratic Party's infighting on the abortion issue was sparked last week when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.) endorsed Heath Mello, the pro-life Democratic mayoral candidate in Omaha, Nebraska.