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Harry Reid: Trump ‘Not as Bad as I Thought He Would Be’

Thursday on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid had a different tone on President-elect Donald Trump than he had throughout the presidential campaign.

Reid, who is leaving the U.S. Senate, told NPR’s Rachel Martin that Trump wasn’t as “bad” as he thought he would be.

“Well, I have to say this — he’s not as bad as I thought he would be,” Reid said. “Some of his cabinet selections I’m not wild about because I’m not going to be able to vote on them. I’ve been very careful in not criticizing them individually.”

Reid pointed to what he perceived to be Trump’s softening on repealing current President Barack Obama’s executive order that protects so-called DREAMers against immigration law enforcement action.

“[W]e 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, you know 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 in all of the stuff he said — which is a step in the right direction.

Martin referred to a statement Reid made immediately after the election that included tough words on Trump’s win.

“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.”

Reid said he stood by those remarks, citing naming his former campaign CEO Stephen K. Bannon as his chief strategist and the Southern Poverty Law Center as sourcing to back up that statement.

However, he said he remained “hopeful” for Trump when asked if he thought Trump could be “a successful president.”

“I hope so,” he said. “You know, it’s not as if Donald Trump and I have been enemies our whole lives — he’s done fundraisers for me. 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. 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.

(h/t The Hill)

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

Jeff Poor

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