President Donald Trump waded into the waters of New York state Democratic politics Tuesday and predicted that Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will challenge Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and win.
Although most of the meeting was off the record, Trump said his prediction about the contest could go on the record.
“I think she will kick his a–,” Trump said. Schumer’s current term ends in 2022.
In lunch previewing the SOTU tonight -President @realDonaldTrump says it will be “extraordinarily low key”. He also says about Democrats – @AOC will run against Senator Chuck Schumer and “I think she will kick his ass”. Both on the record.
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) February 4, 2020
Trump is not the first to voice the idea.
A New York magazine profile of Ocasio-Cortez by David Freedlander that was published in January noted her ambitions have already become a topic of discussion.
“People close to her discussed a possible run for mayor of New York in 2021 but decided against it; a statewide run, probably for the Senate, is likelier. That would mean challenging Chuck Schumer in 2022 or Kirsten Gillibrand in 2024,” Freedlander wrote.
He was not the only one speculating.
“Schumer is trying to ward off a 2022 primary challenge from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the freshman Bronx Democrat who could find herself without a district if New York loses congressional seats in the next round of reapportionment,” Russell Berman wrote in The Atlantic last month after Schumer cited climate change as part of why he voted against the new trade deal with Mexico and Canada.
“He sees AOC over his shoulder at all times, apparently,” The Atlantic quoted what it said was a “veteran trade lobbyist” who it did not name as saying.
Evan Weber, the political director for the Sunrise Movement, a climate advocacy group, called Schumer “a sharp politician.”
“I think he sees the political winds changing,” Weber told The Atlantic.
On Sunday, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina had speculated about a contest between the two Democrats, and said Schumer’s actions on impeachment reflect his concern that he may face a challenge.
“Chuck Schumer is scared to death to lose his job to AOC. And that’s why this debacle continued in the Senate,” he said on Fox News, referring to Trump’s impeachment trial, according to The Daily Wire.
Justice Democrats, a progressive group that supports Ocasio-Cortez, claimed Schumer bowed to the winds of change that the group and Ocasio-Cortez represent.
“Our primary challengers and sit-ins targeting moderate Democrats have been criticized as divisive and unnecessary by many in the party establishment,” Alexandra Rojas, the executive director of the group, said in a statement to The Atlantic “But Senator Schumer’s decision to oppose the USMCA on climate change grounds would not have happened without our movement putting pressure on Democrats to make this crisis an urgent priority in the party like never before.”
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