WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) — Did Harry Reid have a change of heart about President-elect Donald Trump?
In an interview with NPR on the day the top Senate Democrat retired from the Senate, Reid was asked how his assessment of Trump has changed.
“I have to say this – he’s not as bad as I thought he would be,” Reid told NPR on Thursday. “We heard from Trump that one of the first things he was going to do is repeal [the Dreamers] executive order. In an interview he had with Time magazine in the last day or two, he said, ‘Nah, I’m not going to do that’ – those young people deserve to stay here. He’s not going to prosecute Hillary Clinton criminally, as he said he would do. Obviously he didn’t believe I all of the stuff he said – which is a step in the right direction.”
Those comments are much different than what Reid has previously said about Trump, calling him a “human leech” and “sexual predator.”
Reid also revealed to NPR that Trump did fundraisers for him.
“You know, it’s not as if Donald Trump and I have been enemies our whole lives – he’s done fundraisers for me,” the outgoing senator from Nevada explained. “When I was elected last time he sent me a letter saying ‘you’re awesome’ – a handwritten note. It’s not as if I have hate in my soul for Donald Trump.”
He continued, “I hope, beyond all, that he does well. It’s important to the stability of this great nation we have. And I’m hopeful – I keep using that word, but that’s what it is – hopeful that he will lessen his rhetoric and work toward a safer, more productive America.”
Reid bid farewell to the Senate Thursday after 30 years in the chamber and more than a decade as top Democrat.
In an uncharacteristically lengthy and personal farewell speech on the Senate floor, Reid warned of “a new gilded age” ahead and lamented how the Senate has changed. He cautioned colleagues to “temper” use of the filibuster, “otherwise, it will be gone.”
“I hope that everyone would do everything they can to protect the Senate as an institution,” he said. “As part of our Constitution, it should be given the dignity it deserves.”
Later, at a ceremony to unveil his portrait, Reid was lauded by Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Reid’s successor as Senate Minority Leader, New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer. The audience was full of political leaders past and present, from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s first chief of staff, to former Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, who retired after criticism for supporting the health care law.
Reid recognized both as he spoke of a high point of his Senate career, that first congressional term under Obama, when Democrats briefly commanded control of the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. That allowed them to push through a raft of legislation including the economic stimulus, the health care bill and a financial overhaul.
Reid declared it the most productive legislative session in history. “We worked so hard. We delivered big-time,” he recollected.
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