Politics

Reid: 'Donald Trump is a Racist'

Senate minority leader has frequently railed against the GOP nominee.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on Monday went further than he has before in criticizing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that Donald Trump is a racist, and lambasted the media for not labeling the Republican presidential nominee as such.

"There's always one word that many in the press conspicuously avoid: racist. … But he is a racist. Donald Trump is a racist," Reid said on the Senate floor. "'Racist' is a term I don't throw around lightly."

Reid has frequently taken to the floor to rail against the real estate mogul, and he recently criticized Trump's reluctance to release his tax returns and he alleged misconduct at the Trump Foundation.

[It's On Between Harry Reid and Donald Trump]

Reid said the media is not holding Trump accountable for his statements. He cited reports that Trump was discriminatory and derogatory toward minority employees, and his role in the so-called birther movement, which raised questions about whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States.

Reid also pointed to Trump's rhetoric about Muslims, and his remarks on a federal judge overseeing a Trump University lawsuit, which Speaker Paul D. Ryan called the "textbook definition of a racist comment." Reid criticized Ryan and and other Republicans for backing Trump's presidential bid.

"Think of the example Republicans are setting for our nation's youth," the minority leader said. "Republicans are normalizing racist behavior."

On Monday, Reid went where he declined to go 10 days ago during an interview on CNN. Asked on Sept. 16 if Trump is racist, Reid said, "I don't know. All you guys have a job to do. You make that decision. I'm not going to. I'm just telling you what he's done and we've seen it. He's a man of no morality."

Reid's comments come hours before Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton face off in the first general election debate.

Contact Bowman at bridgetbowman@rollcall.com and follow her on Twitter @bridgetbhc.

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