(CNN) – The Democratic Party is trying to figure out how to rebuild after a crushing election. The first order of business: electing Senator Chuck Schumer as the new senate minority leader.
The Brooklyn-born, three-term senator is already foreshadowing a showdown with fellow New Yorker president-elect Donald Trump. He’s the last democrat standing in the way of Donald Trump, fellow New Yorker and Senator Chuck Schumer.
Chuck Schumer, of New York said, “We’re ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Republicans working with soon-to-be President Trump on issues where we agree. But we will go toe-to-toe against the president-elect whenever our values or the progress we’ve made is under assault.”
It’s a delicate dance for Schumer, elected today by senate democrats to lead them beyond their stinging defeat into the new era of trump. He faces a balancing act of confrontation and cooperation, he said he’ll do both.
Schumer, “Indeed a silver lining in the deep clouds of this election is that on many economic issues, president-elect Trump and his campaign was closer to us than to Republican leadership which always seems to wind up in the corner of the special interests.”
Of all the new dynamics that lie ahead in Trump’s Washington, the relationship between the incoming president and the new democratic leader could be the one to watch.
The two have a far deeper history than most anyone in the capital. That much was clear last month at the al smith charity dinner in New York.
Donald Trump, “He used to love me when I was a Democrat, you know?”
Trump, who gave money to many democrats over the years also contributed to a handful of Schumer’s campaigns. And the Schumer household isn’t a stranger to working across the aisle his wife, Iris Weinshal, was transportation commissioner under republican New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.
And even though their differences are wide spanning a divide from Schumer’s Brooklyn to Trump’s fifth avenue, they’ve often bonded over their love of New York and their quest to make a deal.
When trump and Ted Cruz were sparring over New York values in the GOP primary, Schumer sided with trump.
Schumer, “stood up for New York 100 percent.”
As democrats pick up the pieces from Hillary Clinton’s stunning defeat, the party is in the wilderness and on Capitol Hill, in the minority.
Schumer, “When you lose an election like this, you can’t flinch, you can’t ignore it. You need to look it right in the eye and ask why. Analyze it and learn from it.”
To rebuild the party, Schumer added independent Vermont senator Bernie Sanders to the ranks of senate democratic leadership. However, it’s Schumer who will be cutting deals or sparring with trump.
Schumer, “We are not going to as some have done here in the past, say just because its president Trump’s idea or thought we are going to oppose it per se. where we can work together we will. But, I have also said to the president-elect on issues where we disagree you can expect a strong and tough fight.”
On the republican side, Mitch McConnell has been re-elected as senate majority leader.