WASHINGTON ― The man Republicans are depending on to win the White House is “an American nightmare,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) charged Wednesday in a bid to shame the GOP into filling the long-vacant Supreme Court seat.
Reid targeted his remarks at Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the Senate Judiciary Committee chair who has gone along with GOP leaders’ decision not to replace late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Scalia died in February. Almost immediately, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declared that the Senate would not fill his seat until a new president nominates someone. President Barack Obama nominated federal Judge Merrick Garland for the post in March, and Garland has now waited longer than any other nominee in history to get a hearing or vote.
Reid has tried to goad Grassley into action before, reading numerous editorials and letters from Iowa imploring him to do his job.
But Reid put a sharper edge on it Wednesday morning in his remarks on the Senate floor.
“Donald Trump is an American nightmare,” Reid said. “He’s the most unqualified party presidential candidate from a major party that anyone can remember. He’s a bigot, he’s a scam artist, he won’t show us his tax return, and Sen. Grassley is holding the Supreme Court vacant for this man.”
Grassley seemed to feel the pressure over maintaining an historic judicial blockade that is not popular in his state, at one point saying he’d be open to confirming Garland after the November elections. He later backtracked.
He’s also stood by the GOP nominee, comparing Trump a little over a week ago to President Ronald Reagan.
Reid thought that was an especially bad comparison.
“With all due respect to the senator from Iowa, I know President Reagan and I worked with him,” Reid said. “I can say unequivocally, Donald Trump is no Ronald Reagan, and that is the most significant understatement I’ve made on this floor in a long, long time.”
Reid said he was not angry at Grassley, but said the Iowan, who is facing re-election this year, was risking his legacy on behalf of Trump. And the Reagan comparison proves Grassley has lost touch, Reid said.
“The fact that my colleague from Iowa would lump Ronald Reagan in with an egomaniac, selfish person like Donald Trump should scare the people of Iowa. This is not the Grassley we’ve come to know all these years,” Reid said.
A spokesperson for Grassley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.