Local and state leaders are finding themselves in positions of influence in Washington D.C. this week.
On Wednesday, Democrats elected Senator Chuck Schumer as their minority leader in the Senate, while Western New York Congressman Chris Collins takes on a high-profile role in the House.
The two are wasting no time trying to exercise their new-found power. We’re seeing a lot of Collins these days as he’s being rewarded for his early adoption and steady support of Donald Trump.
“I was very honored to be asked by Speaker Ryan to be the congressional liaison to the transition team,” said Collins. “And it’s the strategy that goes behind how are we going to roll out in the first 100 days and how are we going to work for the lame duck session to make sure everything is set up.”
Meanwhile, Schumer said he wants to work with the President-elect on certain issues, but will go toe-to-toe with him and his party when he sees a problem – like he does with the top advisor role given to the CEO of the alt-right news outlet Breitbart, Steve Bannon, who many say is a white nationalist.
“The things he’s said are reprehensible,” said Schumer. “And I just – we’re going to keep a really careful eye on the president and on him if they do anything from this day forward. They’ve done so much awful from this day back, and we’re going to go after them, in terms of bigotry.”
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter has joined other Democratic House members in asking Trump to rescind Bannon’s appointment, saying Bannon does not hold – as some have claimed – less extreme views than those his website promotes.
“I’ve never heard that’s the case,” said Slaughter. “We should take him for what he is and not let him in the White House or anywhere else around it.”
Meanwhile, according to CBS News, Vice President-elect Mike Pence – who is now leading the transition team – is purging the team of lobbyists among reports of internal turmoil.