Other Democratic lawmakers are being gracious in defeat, but retiring Sen. Harry Reid unleashed fury on Donald Trump and the country Friday, saying his election confirms the ascendance of “hate and bigotry in America.”
“Watching white nationalists celebrate while innocent Americans cry tears of fear does not feel like America,” Mr. Reid said in a statement.
The Nevada Democrat, who had been among the most virulent critics of Mr. Trump throughout the campaign, said it’s up to the president-elect to change, who he called “a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate.”
He said racial, ethnic, religious and sexual minorities and children of illegal immigrants all have reason to be afraid.
“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,” Mr. Reid said.
His withering take on the election stands in stark contrast to that of other Democrats, who have said they need to learn lessons from the voters and the anger Mr. Trump tapped into.
Mr. Reid was among Mr. Trump’s harshest critics during the campaign, blasting the press for refusing to label the GOP candidate “racist” and engaging in speculation about what Mr. Trump was hiding from voters.
The Democrats’ Senate floor leader for the last 12 years, Mr. Reid oversaw the strategy that forced Obamacare through the Senate on Christmas Eve in 2009. He then used wily legislative tactics to revive it after he lost his filibuster-proof majority a month later.
He was also the staunchest congressional defender of President Obama’s use of executive action, ceding power from Capitol Hill to the White House in order to do an end-run around Republicans.
But his party paid a political price for his tactics, losing seats in the Senate in 2010 and finally losing control of the chamber in 2014.
Mr. Reid did have a bright spot on Tuesday. Even as Democrats lost most of their other key races, his hand-picked successor did win her race, meaning his seat will be held by a Democrat.
The GOP will still keep control of the chamber in 2017, with an effective 52-48 majority.