Departing Senate minority leader Reid lashes out at Trump

FILE - Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada (Jose Luis Magana)

Departing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid unleashed a scathing letter against Donald Trump, calling the President-elect "a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate."

The Nevada Democrat said in a statement that "If Trump wants to roll back the tide of hate he unleashed, he has a tremendous amount of work to do and he must begin immediately."

Absent from the statement was any note of conciliation or a congratulatory olive branch.

The 76-year-old Reid is retiring at the end of this year after five terms, so unlike other congressional Democrats he has no imperative to try to make nice with Trump. That position allows him to give voice to bolder sentiments than other Democratic leaders who may need to try to work with Trump.

New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer is replacing Reid as Senate minority leader. He has had little to say about Trump so far, but he did congratulate him in a phone call and a brief statement.

The full statement from Mr. Reid is below:

"I have personally been on the ballot in Nevada for 26 elections and I have never seen anything like the reaction to the election completed last Tuesday. The election of Donald Trump has emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry in America.

"White nationalists, Vladimir Putin and ISIS are celebrating Donald Trump's victory, while innocent, law-abiding Americans are wracked with fear - especially African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Muslim Americans, LGBT Americans and Asian Americans. Watching white nationalists celebrate while innocent Americans cry tears of fear does not feel like America.

"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. Hispanic Americans who fear their families will be torn apart, African Americans being heckled on the street, Muslim Americans afraid to wear a headscarf, gay and lesbian couples having slurs hurled at them and feeling afraid to walk down the street holding hands. American children waking up in the middle of the night crying, terrified that Trump will take their parents away. Young girls unable to understand why a man who brags about sexually assaulting women has been elected president.

"I have a large family. I have one daughter and twelve granddaughters. The texts, emails and phone calls I have received from them have been filled with fear - fear for themselves, fear for their Hispanic and African American friends, for their Muslim and Jewish friends, for their LBGT friends, for their Asian friends. I've felt their tears and I've felt their fear.

"We as a nation must find a way to move forward without consigning those who Trump has threatened to the shadows. Their fear is entirely rational, because Donald Trump has talked openly about doing terrible things to them. Every news piece that breathlessly obsesses over inauguration preparations compounds their fear by normalizing a man who has threatened to tear families apart, who has bragged about sexually assaulting women and who has directed crowds of thousands to intimidate reporters and assault African Americans. Their fear is legitimate and we must refuse to let it fall through the cracks between the fluff pieces.

"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. 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.

"If Trump wants to roll back the tide of hate he unleashed, he has a tremendous amount of work to do and he must begin immediately."
Related Topics:
politicsdonald trumpwashington d.c.senatecharles schumerharry reid
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