Monday on the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) said his colleague Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was “the poster boy for the Republicans’ spinelessness, which allowed Donald Trump to be the nominee for president of the United States.”
Partial transcript as follows:
Republicans spent their recess boasting the Republican standard-bearer, Donald Trump. The Republican party’s capitulation of Donald Trump is complete. As headlined last week in The Washington Post, and I quote—’It’s official, the GOP is now the party of Trump’—close quote. I was especially disappointed to see that our senior senator from Kentucky personally led this pro-trumpaganda tour. He spent last week as Donald Trump’s head cheerleader, a trumpet. The Republican leader left Washington ten days ago without doing his job on Zika so he could stump for Trump. In the last ten days it has become clear that Senator McConnell will go to any length to support Donald Trump.
Consider the Republican leader’s refusal to denounce Donald Trump’s racist attack on the United States district judge, a man born in Indiana, in the United States. Donald Trump said the federal judge should be disqualified from deciding his case because of his Mexican heritage. He went further saying he would feel the same way if the judge were Muslim. How did the Republican leader respond? Senator McConnell repeatedly refused to say Donald Trump’s attacks on the judge’s ethnicity would be racist. It is precisely the kind of failure that gave rise to Donald Trump in the first place. Senator McConnell and all congressional Republican leaders have never taken a stand against Trump’s rhetoric. That is because the hate emanating from Trump’s mouth reflects the Republican party’s agenda in the United States Senate for the last seven and a half years. The agenda Senator McConnell himself promoted. For years Senator McConnell and other Republican leaders embraced the darkest elements within their party. The Republican party made anti-woman, anti-Latino, anti-immigrant and anti-Obama policies the norm. Trump is the logical conclusion of what they have been saying for seven and a half years. For refusing to denounce him—it shows Senator McConnell is the poster boy for the Republicans’ spinelessness, which allowed Donald Trump to be the nominee for president of the United States. I made this argument for months. I’m not the only one making it any more. Now even some Republicans are joining me. The conservative blog, Red State, rallied against Senator McConnell’s refusal to condemn Donald Trump’s racist attacks. The conservative blog, Red State, said this, and I quote—’Senator McConnell fell back to a coward’s last refuge—we have to support Trump because he won the primary’—close quote.
The junior senator from Nebraska, a Republican, is willing to say what Senator McConnell won’t—he’s saying today—what he’s saying today and he tweeted, and I quote that from Senator Sasse, ‘Public service announcement saying someone can’t do a specific job because of his or her race is a literal definition of racism.’ Newt Gingrich called Trump’s comments inexcusable. There are others, but for his part Senator McConnell is doubling down on Trump. The Republican leader is waging a nonstop campaign to persuade Republicans who have doubts about supporting Trump to drop their complaints and fall in line. The Republican leader went so far, listen to this, as to compare Donald Trump as comparable to president Dwight Eisenhower. To General Dwight Eisenhower — Donald Trump is a failed businessman who bilked millions of Americans out of their hard-earned money. No wonder he won’t release his tax returns. Trump doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Eisenhower, who led Allied forces in World War II and integrated American schools. Comparing Eisenhower to Trump, give us a break. Donald Trump is the converse of all for which leaders like Eisenhower, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan stood. They stood for equality, fairness, and decency. Trump and McConnell obviously do not. Donald Trump stands for hatred and stands for division.
Senator McConnell also defended Trump’s temperament reassuring everyone that as president, Donald Trump—quote—’would be fine.’ That’s what he said. The Republican leader also extolled Trump’s intelligence. Senator McConnell said the Republican party is at an all time high with Trump at its helm. That is how he spent last week. he was leading cheers as he stumped for Trump. Senator McConnell is doing zero for the 100,000 poisoned residents of Flint, Michigan. Senator McConnell is doing zero to fight our nation’s funding for opioid addiction. The Republican leader was too busy being a trumpet for Trump. And now that he’s firmly entrenched himself in Trump’s corner I can’t help but wonder how far the support extends. For example, would Donald Trump’s comments about the judge racist? Senator McConnell wouldn’t answer that question yesterday. He had numerous opportunities to do it. I’ll give him another opportunity today.
There are other questions the Republican leader needs to answer. Does he believe a fellow judge should be disqualified because of his American heritage? Does he believe these attacks are acceptable for a man who wants to be president of our great country? Does he agree that judges should face a religious test? After Donald Trump’s latest attack on the judiciary does he believe Trump is the right man to pick nominees to our nation’s highest court? The Republican leader defended Trump’s temperament saying he would be fine as a president. Would be fine. I ask the senator from Kentucky, is it fine Donald Trump calls women pigs and dogs? Is it fine he calls immigrants rapist and murders? Is it fine that his party’s presidential candidate urges violence at rallies? It is not rhetorical questions. The Republican leader has so fully embraced Donald Trump that we’re all unclear as to where Trump’s platform ends and the Senate Republicans’ begins. If the Republican leader believes he is fit to be president of the United States, he must explain why this is acceptable. The nation has a right to know how far Senate Republicans’ support of Donald Trump extends, and that starts with the Republican leader. Because now there doesn’t appear to be any daylight between Donald Trump and Senator McConnell. I yield the floor.
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN