Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid called out leading GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans — including those complicit in mainstreaming Trump’s hatred by cowardly remaining silent as he spews xenophobic rhetoric — in a blistering floor speech on the Senate floor earlier today.
“We all know that on race and other controversial issues, Republicans have long practiced subtle bigotry,” Senator Reid said. “But Republicans now simply say out loud the many things at which they used to merely hint. Words have power, and when spoken by influential leaders they infiltrate every corner of our society.”
Senator Reid noted an ugly incident at a recent Trump campaign rally in Alabama, where at least half a dozen Trump supporters brutally attacked a Black Lives Matter demonstrator. Trump later responded to the beating — caught on video by CNN — by saying the demonstrator “maybe…should have been roughed up.”
“That is stunning,” Senator Reid continued. “A Republican candidate for President urged violence to silence his critics.”
“Fanning the flames of intolerance is un-American. We are better than this. I’m disappointed that Republicans who should know better are not speaking out against this vile rhetoric.”
Senator Reid also noted how Trump’s hatred has flooded into the crevices of the GOP ranks, forcing other Republican candidates to the extreme right on immigration, an ugly phenomenon we’ve come to know as the “Trump Effect.”
Senator Reid continues: “And it doesn’t stop there. Republicans have targeted immigrants, too. The Republican Party wants to paint all immigrants as murders and rapists. Congressman Steve King says all immigrants are drug traffickers.”
“Republicans only talk about deporting families. Senator Rubio, the Republican establishment favorite walked away from his single positive accomplishment, comprehensive immigration reform, to please the party’s extreme, anti-immigrant base. He’s gone from supporting citizenship for undocumented immigrants to wanting to deport DREAMers. And even Jeb Bush speaks of ‘anchor babies.’”
“The venom that Republicans continue to spew has consequences,” Senator Reid concluded. “History will judge those who stand idle as fear and animosity become the platform of an American political party.”
“The simple fact is that Republicans are running on a platform of hate. And every Republican who fails to speak out against the hateful, dangerous rhetoric being spewed by their party is complicit. For the moral character of our nation we must demand that Republicans return to the values on which our country was founded.”
Senator Reid’s full remarks on the Trumpification of the Republican Party are available here, and video of his speech is below.