Schumer Won’t Say Whether Clintons Are Helpful to Dems

The senator claims not to have heard Bill Clinton’s latest comments on his impeachment

Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer / Getty Images
June 5, 2018

Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) declined to say Tuesday whether Bill and Hillary Clinton are helping the Democratic Party’s image.

Schumer did not answer a question from NPR's Rachel Martin about former President Bill Clinton lashing out at critics who brought up his impeachment and questioned whether he should have resigned. Meanwhile, his wife and two-time failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has taken heat from some fellow Democrats, such as Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.), for her comments about those who voted for President Donald Trump.

"Are Bill and Hillary Clinton still helpful as public faces of the Democratic Party?" Martin asked after pointing out their recent controversial comments.

"You know, I haven't heard Bill Clinton's comments, I just got here — but the bottom line is Democrats have to put forward a positive, strong economic program," Schumer replied. "We have to oppose Donald Trump when he's wrong, but we also have sit and do positive things."

He said the party should focus on the needs of the middle class rather than "hypotheticals" about different individuals.

"So hypotheticals, who's good, who's bad — we have to focus on the things that average, working-class, middle-class Americans need," Schumer concluded.

Schumer’s fellow Democratic New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand said in November that, in light of the #MeToo movement, she believes Clinton should have resigned from the presidency over the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Clinton chalks this thinking up to the "context" in which Gillibrand is operating, but said in his own context it would not have made sense to do so.

"[Gillibrand's] living in a different context. And she did it for different reasons," Clinton said. "So, I – but I just disagree with her."

Schumer has indirectly criticized Hillary Clinton in the past, arguing Democrats should have a more positive message than they did in 2016. He has also claimed not to pay much attention to the news about the party, even saying he did not follow the party's 2016 primary.