Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) only has 45 days left in office, but he made the most of his time by tearing into President-elect Donald Trump on the floor of the United States Senate on Tuesday.
Sen. Reid began by stating a fact, “A man who lost the popular vote by more than two million votes is now the President-elect, and his election has sparked a wave of hate crimes across America. This is a simple statement of fact. But it raises a critical question for us as a country: how do we respond to the election of Donald Trump?”
Reid talked about the responsibility that Democrats have not to normalize Trump:
We have a responsibility to be the voice of the millions of Americans sitting at home, afraid that they are unwelcome in Donald Trump’s America. We have a responsibility to prevent Trump’s bullying, aggressive behavior from becoming normalized in the eyes of Americans – especially the millions of young people who are watching and wondering if sexual assault is now a laughing matter. We have a responsibility to say that it is not normal for the KKK to celebrate the election of a President they view as their champion with a victory parade.
In other words, we have a responsibility to lead.
Outside this Senate chamber, workers can be heard hammering away on the platform for the inauguration ceremony. In 65 days, Donald Trump will step onto that platform. For four years, he will wield the loudest and most powerful microphone in the world. But even as those workers hammer away on Trump’s platform, and even as we as leaders accept the results of this election, we must also give voice to those who are afraid.
Because there are many of them.
Indeed, a majority of Americans opposed Trump.
Many of my Republican colleagues in this chamber opposed Trump.
And they were not alone: Trump will be the first president to take office having lost the popular vote by more than two million votes.
Every day for the past week, a majority of American voters have awakened to a difficult reality: not only did the man who lost the popular vote win the election, but his election sparked a rise in hate crimes and threats of violence.
Since Election Day, the Southern Poverty Law Center has reported 315 incidents of harassment and intimidation.
Sen. Reid called on Trump to rescind his appointment of Steve Bannon to be his Senior White House adviser, “If Trump is serious about seeking unity, the first thing he should do is rescind his appointment of Steve Bannon. As long as a champion of racial division is a step away from the Oval Office, it will be impossible to take Trump’s efforts to heal the nation seriously. So I say to Donald Trump: take responsibility. Rise to the dignity of the office instead of hiding behind your Twitter account. And show America that racism, bullying, and bigotry have no place in your White House.”
Reid’s speech was the latest step in the attempt by outgoing Democratic leaders to show their fellow Democrats the way to deal with Trump. It would have been fun to watch Harry Reid go after Trump on a daily basis, but injuries suffered in an exercise accident hastened Harry Reid’s decision to retire.
One of the largest struggles ahead of Trump is that the standard he will be held up to is about to change. Donald Trump is competing with Ted Cruz for primary wins or Hillary Clinton for the White House. As President, Trump will be measured by the standard of how the country is doing.
Harry Reid was the first Senate Democrat to tear into Trump, but he definitely won’t be the last. Donald Trump could be in for a very long four years.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association