Update: Schumer has responded on twitter, first blasting Trump's accusation, stating "I guess it's not too soon to politicize a tragedy"...
I guess it's not too soon to politicize a tragedy.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) November 1, 2017
... as well as posting a statement in response to Trump’s proposed funding cuts to anti-terrorism efforts:
My full statement in response to President Trump’s proposed funding cuts to anti-terrorism efforts: pic.twitter.com/L0S6K1WkLX— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) November 1, 2017
Other Democrats also criticized the president’s reaction. “I think it’s kind of absurd in the hours after this terrible attack to be using it as a fulcrum for a debate that’s been going on in Congress for completely different reasons,” Representative Adam Schiff of California said on MSNBC on Wednesday. “I’ve never really heard this made as a security argument, and I think to use this tragedy in that way to push a different agenda is not what the president ought to be doing right now."
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, also jabbed at Trump for politicizing the tragedy according to Bloomberg.
“I don’t think this is the time to get political,” he told MSNBC. “We had a policy, an immigration policy in place in the ’90s. It was a bipartisan policy. It was signed by a Republican president. There’s no doubt that we have to be smarter and have more intelligent but there’s also no doubt that this is not the time to play politics. This is not the time to foment hate. This is not the time to divide, because they all exacerbate the situation, right? This is the time to forge alliances with our allies.”
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In a series of tweets this morning following the tragic terrorist event in downtown Manhattan yesterday afternoon, President Trump has laid part of the blame for the terrorist attack squarely at the feet of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: "The terrorist came into our country through what is called the "Diversity Visa Lottery Program," a Chuck Schumer beauty..."
The terrorist came into our country through what is called the "Diversity Visa Lottery Program," a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter). @foxandfriends— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, is listed as a sponsor of the 1990 legislation that created the current visa lottery for “diversity immigrants” from countries that had historically low rates of immigration to the U.S. according to Bloomberg. The legislation was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. About 55,000 visas are available each year through the program divided among six geographic regions.
Trump then quoted Colonel Tony Shaffer...
"Senator Chuck Schumer helping to import Europes problems" said Col.Tony Shaffer. We will stop this craziness! @foxandfriends— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
The timing of Trump's tweets are interesting as "Fox & Friends" earlier Wednesday morning aired a clip from Mark Levin's radio show in which the conservative host attacked the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, pointing to Schumer's sponsorship of the program.
As The Hill reports, ABC7 in New York reported that Saipov was allowed into the U.S. from Uzbekistan through the program. Various conservative commentators have seized on the report, and have laid blame on Schumer, who played an important role in the program's conception in the 1990s. The program offers visas to people from countries that have relatively few immigrants to the U.S.
The program became a target of conservative media overnight, and Trump’s attack against Schumer echoed articles on such websites as Breitbart News and discussions Wednesday on Fox News. “I have always believed and continue to believe that immigration is good for America,” Schumer said in a statement. “President Trump, instead of politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of national tragedy, should be focusing on the real solution -- anti-terrorism funding -- which he proposed cutting in his most recent budget.”