Retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is breaking his silence on Donald Trump’s victory, calling the president-elect “a sexual predator who lost the popular vote” and arguing his win bolsters hate groups and terrorists.
“The election of Donald Trump has emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry in America,” Reid said in a statement Friday. “White nationalists, Vladimir Putin and ISIS are celebrating Donald Trump’s victory, while innocent, law-abiding Americans are wracked with fear.”
He added that if the president-elect “wants to roll back the tide of hate he unleashed, he has a tremendous amount of work to do and he must begin immediately.”
Reid’s statement is a break with other top Democrats, who have offered a tentative olive branch to Trump to try to find common ground while pledging to stand up to him on areas they disagree. Reid is retiring and won’t be in the Senate when Trump takes over the White House next year.
Reid — a harsh critic of Trump throughout the campaign — said he has heard stories or received messages from people since Tuesday that are “filled with fear.”
“Watching white nationalists celebrate while innocent Americans cry tears of fear does not feel like America,” he said. “I have heard more stories in the past 48 hours of Americans living in fear of their own government and their fellow Americans than I can remember hearing in five decades in politics.”
He added Friday that the country “must find a way to move forward without consigning those who Trump has threatened to the shadows” and appeared to blame the media for articles that “breathlessly obsess over inauguration preparation,” arguing it normalizes Trump’s rhetoric.
Reid said Trump is responsible for getting the U.S. past the divisive presidential campaign.
“If this is going to be a time of healing, we must first put the responsibility for healing where it belongs: at the feet of Donald Trump, a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate,” he said.
“Winning the electoral college does not absolve Trump of the grave sins he committed against millions of Americans. Donald Trump may not possess the capacity to assuage those fears, but he owes it to this nation to try. ”
Whoa – this statement from Harry Reid. pic.twitter.com/nkAG7IDGYI
— George Zornick (@gzornick) November 11, 2016