PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – Members of an ad hoc citizens group braved the soggy weather Tuesday to bring this message to U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer’s staff in Peekskill: “We will be watching you.”
According to Michelle Paolillo Lockett, a spokeswoman for Rockland United, about 15 Rockland residents and several Westchesterites, met for more than an hour with the senior senator’s regional director, Allison Biasotti.
Lockett said they expressed disappointment over Schumer’s recent votes to confirm the first three Cabinet picks made by newly installed President Donald J. Trump, a Bedford resident.
The most worrisome one being that of far-right Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas as director of the Central Intelligence Agency Lockett said.
Vice President Mike Pence swore Pompeo in on Monday, Jan. 23.
According to usatoday.com, critics are concerned about Pompeo’s allegedly conflicting remarks about homeland surveillance and harsh interrogation techniques.
Schumer was among the 66 senators who voted to approve Pompeo, Lockett said. (32 voted against the appointment.) Fourteen were Democrats; Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was the only member of his party to vote against Pompeo's confirmation.
According to a report by intercept.com, Pompeo's confirmation was opposed by Human Rights Watch and was seen as a test of Democrats' ability to present a united front on the new Cabinet.
Schumer also voted for Defense Secretary James Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Lockett said.
Lockett said the group, which will continue to coordinate actions with MoveOn.org, the Working Families party and the Indivisible Guide’s National Day of Action, told Schumer through his representative that it will not only be listening to his words, but will be watching his votes carefully from now on.
Lockett said they left feeling that their "voices had been heard."
They also thanked the senior U.S. senator from New York and Democrat for “his more progressive rhetoric of late.”
They also wanted to make sure, their statement said, that he “knows that there is a larger group of citizens watching his actions.”
Nyack resident Michael Lockett said that in the current “divisive political climate,” citizens need to hold all elected officials “accountable.”
“We need Sen. Schumer to commit to blocking Trump’s Cabinet nominees to send a message that New Yorkers won’t tolerate rolling back the progress fought for over the past decades,” he said.
According to multiple media reports, Schumer has said that while Trump’s Cabinet choices aren’t going over well with Democrats, Republicans should be concerned as well.
Speaking on CNN recently, Schumer called the selection a “disaster” for Trump because of what he called numerous conflicts of interest.
Using Tim Price, Trump’s pick for secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as an example, Schumer pointed out that the president has been quoted as saying he wouldn’t cut Medicare.
Price made a career of trying to privatize Medicare, according to thehill.com, a political blog.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance Tuesday convened a nomination hearing for Price, thehill.com said.
Schumer’s communications people, reached in Washington, D.C., had not returned a call for comment at press time.