Nancy Pelosi spoke with President-elect Donald Trump by phone to congratulate him on his victory. Hillary Clinton graciously conceded. President Obama called for a “peaceful transfer of power.”
Harry Reid, not so much.
The pugilistic Senate Democratic leader who is retiring this term issued a 473-word statement Friday railing against Trump’s election, saying it has “emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry” as the country is overcome by “tears” and “fear.”
“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,” the retiring Nevada senator said.
Speaking out as protests have sprung up in cities across the country, Reid cited accounts of African Americans being heckled and Hispanic Americans fearful their families “will be torn apart.”
“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,” he said. “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.”
Trump indeed has raised deep concerns among Hispanic-Americans over his calls to build a wall along the Southern border and step up deportations, and among Muslims over his widely criticized plan to suspend Muslim immigration – a plan he since backed away from.
But in the hours and days since the election, the candidate who riled up rally crowds and engaged regularly in rhetorical battle with his political foes has struck a more conciliatory tone, as those protesting his election have in some places resorted to violence.
Even his biggest critics – namely President Obama and Hillary Clinton – have urged the country to respect the election results and come together.
Clinton, in her concession speech, said: “We must accept this result, and then look to the future. … Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”
House Democratic Leader Pelosi, D-Calif., spoke with Trump by phone and echoed Obama and Clinton, saying in a statement that the country needs to “come together.”
“The peaceful transfer of power is the cornerstone of our democracy,” she said, even noting that Congress could work with Trump on an infrastructure bill.
“I congratulate President-elect Trump and his family, and pray for his success,” she said.
Reid ended his statement on a different note. He called Trump a “sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate.”
He said: “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 tide of hate he unleashed, he has a tremendous amount of work to do and he must begin immediately.”