PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- Members of Indivisible, a movement devoted to resisting the Trump agenda, visited Charles Schumer’s offices in Peekskill Wednesday to let him know that, while they support the senior U.S. senator, they still expect him to be their “voice.”
“Even though he (Schumer) shares our values and we have his back, we wanted him to know we’re going to be vocal when he does something we don’t approve of,” said Marianna Stout, leader of the movement’s local arm, CD17Indivisible.
The grassroots movement is particularly concerned with newly elected President Donald J. Trump’s Cabinet picks, Stout said. There is one exception: retired Gen. James Mattis, who was confirmed by the Senate as defense secretary last Friday, Stout said.
According to media reports, Mattis was approved by a vote of 98-1. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., cast the sole vote against him.
Schumer has been quoted widely in the press as calling Trump’s Cabinet a conflict-ridden “swamp” filled in fellow billionaires.
Mattis seems to be trustworthy, said Stout, but the other nominees, confirmed or non- at this point, seem intent on “dismantling all the progress that my generation fought so hard for.”
Schumer spokesman Jason Kaplan issued the following statement from the senator Wednesday night:
“Sen. Schumer is leading the effort to put a spotlight on each and every Cabinet nominee. This process has revealed serious concerns regarding some of the nominees, including Rex Tillerson and Betsy DeVos.”
DeVos, a former Republican Party chairwoman in Michigan and charter school champion, is Trump’s designee for education secretary.
Kaplan said that Schumer raised concerns about Tillerson’s qualifications and “his relationship with Russia” immediately after his nomination was announced.
Tillerson retired from ExxonMobil effective Dec. 31, 2016.
According to The New York Times, the giant oil company has billions of dollars in deals that will die if the United States does not lift sanctions against Russia.
Tillerson, The New York Times said, also was given a friendship award from Russia and his business ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin have generated a lot of controversy.
Stout said group members met with Schumer staffer Megan Glander, who took copious notes and promised to pass their concerns onto the 66-year-old Democratic minority leader.
According to thehill.com, a political blog, Schumer has emerged as the champion of the left since the November elections. However, other media outlets such as villagevoice.com, say his stance, so far, isn’t totally jibing with his votes on Trump’s conservative Cabinet choices.
He voted, not only for Mattis, but for Gen. John F. Kelly as homeland security secretary as well as Mike Pompeo as CIA director, media reports said.
According to cnn.com, Tillerson cleared a Senate hurdle when its Foreign Relations Committee voted to 11-10 to send his nomination as secretary of state to the Senate floor. A final confirmation vote is expected next week.
Schumer told cnn.com Sunday that he opposes eight of the nine Trump picks.
Schumer's regional director, Allison Biasotti, had no comment Wednesday when asked how the senator planned to vote on Tillerson. According to the senator’s office and media reports, the only nominee that Schumer has -- so far -- publicly said he would vote against is Jeff Sessions, Trump's pick for attorney general.
Stout said that members of CD17Indivisible will be visiting Schumer’s Peekskill office every Tuesday of the first 100 Days of the Trump administration.
For more information about the group, email them at CD17Indivisible@gmail.com.