RENO, Nev. — Asked to compare Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to a boxer, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid didn’t disappoint.
The retiring Nevada Democrat and former amateur middleweight boxer offered up “Two Ton” Tony Galento — who had fought, among others, Joe Louis at Yankee Stadium in 1939.
“He was a big fat guy, and he didn’t win many fights, but he got lots of them because he was unorthodox,” Reid said in an interview with Roll Call. “He was somewhat dirty, and that’s the Trump campaign: kind of fat, ugly and dirty.”
“I didn’t call him a pig. Charles Blow did,” Reid said, referring to the New York Times columnist. The minority leader was in Reno, stumping for the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, the Democratic pick to replace him in the Senate, at the Washoe County Democratic headquarters.
With a Tuesday deadline to register new voters and early voting kicking off Saturday, Reid, walking with a cane and cracking jokes about the blindness in his right eye that’s affected his depth perception, is back on the campaign trail for one last fight as a sitting senator.
At the event and during the interview, Reid noted his long mistrust of Silver State public polling, which was largely inaccurate during his 2010 re-election campaign against Republican Sharron Angle.
Appearing later in nearby Sparks before a separate group of Nevada Democrats, Reid opted to take questions instead of offering up formal remarks.
When one woman expressed concern about Trump blaming Democrats for trying to steal the presidential election, Reid offered up a preview of a speech he was planning to give later Monday evening, when he was to receive an award from local Democrats.
“What did Al Gore do? He stood and said, ‘We’re a nation of laws, not of men, and your next president is George Bush, not me.’ Now, think how hard that was for him, for Al Gore, but he did it,” Reid said. “Any other country in the world, there would have been tires burned, windows broken, cars burned, buildings smashed and put on fire. Not in America. We’re a nation of laws, not of men. Donald Trump wants it to be a nation of Donald Trump.”
Reid also repeated familiar lines of attack on the Koch brothers, the GOP mega-donors.
Asked by a columnist for The Economist how Cortez Masto could prevail despite the outside spending, he again sought to tie the Republican-led Senate with the billionaire.
Heck has renounced his support of Trump, though backers with Trump and “Make America Great Again” hats were in the crowd over the weekend in Ely, Nevada, and a pile of Trump-Pence bumper stickers ended up next to Heck’s own materials on a giveaway table.
“No matter … how much money the Kochs spend, they can’t overcome the absurdity of Donald Trump and the phoniness of Joe Heck,” Reid said.
Those comments came after the minority leader told assembled Democrats that the amount of outside money supporting Heck, Trump and congressional Republicans meant that the Democratic volunteers needed to work all that much harder knocking on doors and making phone calls and stuffing pamphlets into envelopes.
“It’s great that we have all the online stuff we can do, all the social media stuff, that’s great. But this election for Catherine, for all the House seats and for Hillary, it’s going to be won in the streets. That is knocking on doors, taking the abuse that you get,” Reid said in Sparks. “I know that it’s hard to do those crazy calls, but it’s so important.
“The old-fashioned way will make a difference,” he said.