"The only way we're going to work with him is if he moves completely in our direction and abandons his Republican colleagues. That's not going to happen very often," the New York Democrat and incoming Senate minority leader told CNN's Dana Bash. "And I'm even less optimistic that any of that could happen seeing his Cabinet choices."
Schumer said Democrats will focus on holding Trump accountable.
"Ninety, 95% of the time we'll be holding his feet to the fire and holding him accountable," he said. "But we're Democrats. We're not going to just oppose things to oppose them."
The GOP has been run by a "hard-right" tea party-like group of people proposing ideas Trump can't support, Schumer said.
"We're going to look at the specifics of what is proposed," he said. "And on the overwhelming bunch of them, particularly given who he has chosen as his Cabinet people, we're going to have to oppose him because we just disagree in principle."
However, Schumer said he would like to work with Trump if the President-elect is willing.
"Of course, I'd like to make a deal. If we could get together on immigration and have a path to citizenship. Just as I was happy to work with John McCain and Lindsey Graham, I'll be happy to work with Donald Trump," he said. "But he hasn't even ... come close to talking about that, so we're going to end up opposing him on those issues."
The former Hillary Clinton supporter said the Senate's most progressive lawmakers agree.
"My views are exactly the same as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Both of them have said -- both of them have said the same exact thing: If we can work with him and be true to our principles, we're not going to reject it," he said. "But overall, we're sticking to our principles. We're not compromising for its own sake."
"Our principles are going to be our guiding light," Schumer added.