WASHINGTON (JTA) — Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid cited fears expressed by minorities, including Jews, in a message excoriating President-elect Donald Trump.
“The election of Donald Trump has emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry in America,” Reid, D-Nev., said in a message posted Friday, three days after Trump’s surprise victory, and which has since gone viral.
“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,” Reid said in the statement, which was notable for its combative tone among post-election statements from Democratic lawmakers that had otherwise tended to be conciliatory.
“I have a large family,” Reid said. “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.”
Reid’s wife, Landra Gould, was born and raised Jewish. They both converted to Mormonism as young adults, but she has maintained some Jewish customs.
The combative Reid, who is retiring this year, is not bound by the niceties that usually characterize statements by lawmakers on the losing side in a presidential election. Reid’s successor as party leader in the Senate, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said he is ready to work with Trump.
Reid blamed Trump, whose campaign for the presidency was marked by broadsides against minorities and misogynistic comments, for the tensions in America.
“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,” Reid said.
His statement earned a rebuke from another Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who is relatively conservative and represents a state that swung decisively toward Republicans in the election.
In a statement, Manchin called on Democrats to have an “open mind” about Trump and said Reid’s statement was an “absolute embarrassment.”