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TRANSCRIPT: On CNN’s OutFront With Erin Burnett, Majority Leader Schumer Discusses Republicans Blocking The Right To IVF Act And Senate Republicans’ Meeting With The Former President

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on CNN’s OutFront to address Republicans voting to block the Right to IVF Act earlier today.

Erin Burnett: And now, as promised, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is here for an exclusive conversation. So Senator, I just want to start there. You know, you heard the Congresswoman, “who are we to say no.” But, Mitch McConnell—you know him incredibly well—hasn't met with Trump, we understand, since December of 2020. Goes today, comes out, says it's entirely positive, shakes hand. Does that surprise you, knowing McConnell the way you do?

Leader Schumer: Well, let me just say this. I think there are a good number of Republicans, McConnell included, who know deep in their hearts, deep in their minds what a danger he is to democracy, and what a disaster he'd be as president, but none of them seem – or very few— a couple didn't show up, as you said, but very few including McConnell. McConnell should have had the courage not to show up. He knows, I think he knows deep in his heart what Trump is like and what Trump would do.

Burnett: He has said those things before. So he, you know, I guess who are we to say no? In some sense by his actions. I want to ask you about the bill today, though. This was on IVF, it failed. IVF, in vitro fertilization. After the vote, Republicans released a statement, and they accused, you, Senator, and Democrats of a “summer of scare tactics.” Senator Katie Britt, Senator Ted Cruz, they've got their own bill they're putting out to protect IVF, so they're saying, well, look, we're on the same side of this. We want it, too, and Democrats blocked that. So is this a stunt?

Schumer: Not at all. They’re calling it a show vote? No –  it's a show-who-you-are vote. Every one of them, except the two courageous people who voted the other way, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, showed who they were, that they’re against IVF. Look – this should have been the easiest vote in the world. IVF is so important to so many millions of people to be able to have a child. Personally, it’s important to me. I have a grandson who came about through IVF, and it's a beautiful thing. But they have the hard-right pushing them. And so they are afraid to say what the right thing to do is. And they say, they tried to say, well, we had a better idea. Well we gave them a chance. We said, just vote to get on the bill and we'll discuss it. They all voted “no,” because people like the Heritage Foundation, Susan B. Anthony League, even the Southern Baptist Convention, they've come out against IVF. Who would’ve thought that so many people would be pushed against IVF? The Republicans should have had the courage to do the right thing here. They knew what it was, and that's why they're signing these letters and all of that. But it's not what they say, Erin, it's what they do. All but two voted no – pushed by the MAGA hard-right.

Burnett: So, but, I want to understand here, because Trump has made it clear he supports IVF. So have a lot of the ultra-right MAGA-type Republicans. I mean, here are just a few of them after the Alabama Supreme Court ruling, of course, which put this whole issue front and center. Here they are, starting with Trump.

Schumer: If they were for it, they should have voted for it. Donald Trump should have urged them to vote for it. This was a simple bill that said the right to an IVF procedure should be available to every American. We saw what the Alabama Supreme Court did. We've seen these right-wing groups all come against it. And these are the very same people who pushed to get rid of Roe in the Dobbs decision. We know what they're up to: they want to get rid of IVF. They're afraid to say it, but—

Burnett: So you’re saying they're literally lying when they say that.

Schumer:  I say they are deceiving the American people because they're afraid the hard-right wing of the MAGA Republicans will come down on them if they vote. And, believe me, if they get power – they have said they want a national abortion ban. They have said they will follow the MAGA hard-right. No one anymore can believe that they defend any women's reproductive rights after what they've done and today's vote proved it.

Burnett:  So on this, going away from IVF to the issue actually on abortion, right? This is an issue where voters, as I pointed out, in deeply red states, have again and again voted against abortion restrictions.

Schumer: Yes.

Burnett: Okay, so Trump has taken his party on on this issue. We understand in that meeting today that he was telling them to back off, that this is not a winning issue if you go too far right on it. Are you worried, Leader, that he might connect with the voters on this, that this could be a breakthrough issue for him if he once again, becomes the Donald Trump who said things like, “I don't care what bathroom you use.” There used to be a Trump like that.

Schumer: Donald Trump just a few months ago, bragged that he put the three justices on the Supreme Court who got rid of Roe and put in Dobbs. Donald Trump cannot be believed. He says, one thing  one day, one thing the next. Everything they have done as a party including the Dobbs decision through the MAGA-right Republican justices, they all voted for, right-wing MAGA justices, has been against women's rights. No one believes them. If you ask the average American where does the Republican party stand on abortion? They'll say they're against it because that's the way they vote all the time. Somebody saying something today, whether it's Trump or another congressman or senator, doesn't matter if they're going to vote to get rid of IVF, which is what they will do should they get in power. And today, if they had a better, bill Erin, we gave them the opportunity to amend it. They said no, they don't even want to discuss—

Burnett: So if they come with the bill and it does the same thing, will you support it?

Schumer: It doesn't do the same thing. Their bill, which Ted Cruz tried to do because he's running for reelection and he knows where even the voters of Texas are, doesn't come close to protecting women.

Burnett: So you mentioned Supreme Court justices. I want to ask you about Justice Alito and the flag issue. And, obviously the two flags, as you know, one at his vacation home, one at his home was the upside down flag, both were carried by insurrectionists on January 6th. He said his wife did it, yeah, and she was upset because a neighbor had insulted her about the Trump victory. So I actually spoke to that neighbor, Leader Schumer, and I asked her about what happened. Her name is Emily Baden.

Schumer: Look - this Supreme Court is so, so mired in ethical scandals. The bottom line is very simple. Chief Justice Roberts has a responsibility to put ethics rules in place and not let them take trips, to not let them get gifts, to not let them deal with the appearance of bias, and he's done virtually nothing. He should be a guardian of this court so that Americans believe it's equal justice under law. And he has disregarded all of this. This, what you heard here today, is just one of many, many examples where the Supreme Court has lost its moorings in terms of ethics and in terms of projecting being fair. Roberts has not done any of this. He's supposed to be a guardian of the courts.

Burnett: Let me ask about Alito, though, on this issue. When she refers to there was this incident and there were slurs and epithets thrown around, but there was actually a police report filed that The New York Times obtained that shows it was on February 15th. The flag was flying before, because they got the picture. It was weeks before. But this is a very serious question about a Supreme Court Justice, even separate from the ethical issues you're talking about. Is he mistaken, or is that just an outright lie? He wrote this letter laying this out to Congress –  you're not allowed to lie to Congress.

Schumer: Look, the bottom line is, as I said, the Supreme Court has so many ethical issues, and I am working with [Chairman] Durbin of the Judiciary Committee, with Sheldon Whitehouse, to see – because Congress has the right to do things, we're blocked by Republicans most of the time. But Roberts has the ability on his own to deal with recusal if there's bias, to deal with ethical issues. He hasn't done any of this.

Burnett: I want to ask you one other thing about what Trump said today. I mentioned at the top of the program: So, he was talking about Nancy Pelosi. He likes to talk about her. He called her daughter a “wacko,” and he said she once told him that he and Nancy Pelosi would have had a great romance in another life. Alright, you know Trump, you've been -- you can imagine something like this being said. But what is your reaction, even now, with this sort of thing being said?

Schumer: Let's talk about the serious things that happened. The contrast today between the Democrats helping protect women's rights, and the Republicans helping protect, what they talked about in there: helping protect very wealthy people to get more tax breaks. That's the real contrast of this party –  not Trump's gibberish, but what he and they have stood for. 80% of the American people want to see the tax system made fairer, want to see the wealthy pay their fair share. They're protecting him while we are protecting women with the IVF.

Burnett: Senator, as a New Yorker, you know, he got rid of SALT and did the largest tax increase on wealthy New Yorkers that they've perhaps ever had.

Schumer: Oh, please. The overwhelming majority of his tax cuts went to the wealthiest people; very little went to anyone else when you look at them as a whole, they went against the blue states because we actually do something to help poor people, working people, et cetera. That was not a fair thing to do. Overall, the tax rates plummeted down for the wealthy; if you made lots of money, you did [benefit] much more, and then they stopped the auditing of all these very wealthy people who were using loopholes. So make no mistake about it: they are for helping the wealthy pay fewer taxes. And again, I just want to say it once again, far more important than Trump's gibberish. And that is the contrast: the Democrats protecting women's rights, the Republicans protecting the right of the wealthy to more tax breaks. Who are the American people going to side with? I'll bet in November they're going to side with us.

Burnett: All right. Well, senator, I appreciate your time and thank you very much. Great to see you.