Julia Manchester
The Hill (Archive)

President Trump ripped Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) in an early morning tweet Wednesday for his role in an immigration program that the man suspected of carrying out Tuesday’s terrorist attack in New York City entered the country under.

Sayfullo Saipov, who was shot and is in custody after driving a truck through bicyclists and pedestrians in New York, entered the United States in 2010 from Uzbekistan under a program that gives visas to people from countries with few immigrants to the United States.

“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Charles Schumer beauty. I want merit based,” the president said.

Trump has embraced a proposal from two GOP senators to curb legal immigration. It would put more emphasis on allowing immigrants to come to the United States based on their job skills, and not on family ties to people already in the country.

The president on Wednesday went on to tweet at “Fox & Friends,” a show he is known to frequently watch, saying his administration is fighting for a merit-based process and quoting a guest on the show, Tony Shaffer.

Schumer, who played a role in the program’s conception in the 1990s, responded a short time later, accusing Trump of being divisive during a national tragedy. Eight people were killed in the attack in lower Manhattan.

“President Trump, instead of politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of national tragedy, should be focusing on the real solution — anti-terrorism funding — which he proposed cutting in his most recent budget,” Schumer said.

“I’m calling on the President to immediately rescind his proposed cuts to this vital anti-terrorism funding.”

“Fox & Friends” earlier Wednesday morning tweeted a clip from Mark Levin’s radio show in which the conservative host attacked the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program and pointed to Schumer’s sponsorship.

Schumer’s sponsorship of the program also came up during a “Fox & Friends” interview with Sebastian Gorka, a former White House adviser.

Various conservative commentators have seized on reports of how Saipov entered the country.

This report was updated at 8:40 a.m.

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