The Senate minority leader today said on the floor of the upper chamber that the “Republican Party is running on a platform of hate.”
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) accused Donald Trump of “standing on the platform of hate” for his proposal to block Muslims from coming into the United States, but added “I’m sorry to say that it’s a platform that the Republican Party built for him.”
“We are a country founded on religious liberty, not a country that imposes religious tests. Trump’s statement is a slap in the face to the millions of peace-loving Muslims living here and to those who want to travel and live here. We welcome them all, and to them I say: Donald Trump is not America. Sadly, however, Donald Trump is the Republican Party,” Reid said.
“Because it’s not just Trump. Many of the leading candidates for the Republican nomination have said hateful things. Especially about Muslims. Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz proposed religious tests for refugees. You can’t condemn Trump when you want to impose a religious test on women and children fleeing death and persecution. Ben Carson has called Muslims ‘rabid dogs.’ Chris Christie has said they should be tracked.”
Bush tweeted yesterday that “Donald Trump is unhinged. His ‘policy’ proposals are not serious.”
Christie said on Michael Medved’s show said Trump’s proposal “is the kind of thing that people say when they have no experience and don’t know what they’re talking about.”
Reid added that “Republican candidates condemn Trump’s remarks, and then adopt his racist policies as their own.”
“Let’s not fool ourselves. This sort of racism has been prevalent in Republican politics for decades. Trump is just saying out loud what other Republicans merely suggest,” the minority leader said. “Political leaders must condemn these hateful, un-American statements with their words and their actions. Silence only empowers the bigots.”
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters on the Hill after a policy luncheon that “with regard to the remarks by one of the presidential candidates about restricting Muslim travel to the United States, let me just first say that would be completely inconsistent with American values.”
“And second, to show how completely and totally unworkable it would be, King Abdullah of Jordan, a great friend and ally of ours, would presumably not be able to come to the United States. How about President Ghani of Afghanistan, a great friend and ally of ours who would not be able to come to the United States. So this suggestion is completely and totally inconsistent with American values,” McConnell said.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who introduced a bill today to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow the governor of a state to reject refugees, said “I disagree with that proposal” of Trump’s, but he didn’t get into the condemnation expressed by most of his colleagues.
“I like Donald Trump. A lot of our friends here have encouraged me to criticize and attack Donald Trump. I’m not interested in doing so,” Cruz said.
Another contender for the GOP presidential nomination, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), called Trump a “race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot. He doesn’t represent my party.”
“This is not about an election. This is about the future of the country and our party. And they will write the history of these times. And I want to be in a category of one percent who said, BS. This is not who we are as a party, who we are as a nation. And I’m calling on Ted Cruz. You’re trying to have it both ways here.”