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  Senator Harry Reid on Donald Trumps Candidacy  CSPAN  March 19, 2016 12:20pm-1:11pm EDT

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>> today, c-span's road to the white house coverage continues live starting at 2:00 eastern here on c-span. senate minority leader harry reid tied the rise of donald trump to the republican leadership. rise the trump's consequence of republican strategies. his remarks are just under one hour.
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>> good morning, and happy st. patrick's day. just before president obama second inauguration, there was a headline -- i think it sums up where we have been for the last several years. republican leaders have made it their policy to block everything that the president proposes. we have seen heated rhetoric around the country and the president's future.
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today, donald trump is the republican party's front runner, thateople are surprised the rhetoric has contributed to a can see that mirrors the themes. honored toicularly here toator reid discuss the topics and many more. senator reid has been an incredible champion for the american people, working to help all americans on almost every issue that i have worked on in the last several decades. fighting his heart out to keep immigrant families together, protecting our environment for future generations.
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he has been an incredible voice for all of us. i'm really honored to have him here talk about what is happening with the american electorate, what is happening to our politics, where the republican party is going, and what democrats can do about it. please join me in welcoming senator harry reid. [applause] senator reid: i want to public lee recognized john podesta. i have such respect for this man who could have gone out to the private sector and make a
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fortune. that is not what he decided to do. thank you for inviting me to be here today. many americans are scratching their heads about donald trump. i know i have on more than one occasion. most of us cannot fathom how he rose so far and so fast. his rhetoric is embarrassing, his proposals are dangerous. the republican establishment acts bewildered, but they should not be bewildered. republican leaders are responsible for his rise. for eight years, they have drained all the oxygen from this country by replacing thoughtful reflection with resentment and hatred.
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a full month before they knew the nominee, republicans already pledged to block him or her. this is the kind of mindless behavior that has hollowed out our debate, and created the conditions for trump to rise. donald trump has simply struck the match. recall where our nation stood at the end of 2008. president bush was on the way out of the office. president obama came into office with a broad mandate. republicans were looking to the leaders to bring them together. sadly, leaders chose an opposite
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path. instead of cooperating on, and since solutions, republican leaders chose obstruction. the night of president obama's first migration, a group of metressman and strategists to plot a strategy. they decided first to do everything they could to prevent president obama from being reelected, and second, from achieving any of his policy priorities. this is the line. the economic hardships that americans face could not be faced. again and again, they said that
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they would oppose any policy, simply because it came from president obama. the supreme court overwhelmingly needs someone, and the senate, with a large vote, appointed the d.c.proved him to circuit. .hey did it in 1997 at that time, 32 republicans voted to confirm him. said.s what senator hatch garland -- merrick garland very well, and he is supported by all sides."
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republicans are slamming the door on a good man, simply because president obama nominated him. that is how they treated him over the entire presidency. they have done it for going on 7.5 years. it did not matter where the ideas came from, or if they came from republicans. republicans repeated the big lie over and over in big ways. they said, whatever president obama proposes, even if it is a republican idea, he cannot help you, and will hurt you. look at the affordable care act. the centerpiece we formed is the individual mandate. where did that come from? from the conservative heritage foundation. however, it suddenly became socialism in their eyes.
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it is not just the affordable care act. democrats propose one policy after another. many of the ideas originated with republicans. nearly all of them had previously enjoyed bipartisan support, but one by one, they were rejected by republican leaders who repeated the big lie, if president obama supports it, it won't help you. the list is long. wall street reform, investment, issue after issue. republicans faced a choice. help the american people, or stick it to president obama. time after time, they chose to stick it to president obama instead of helping their own constituents. payroll tax cuts, mortgage student loans, immigration , reform. automobile bailouts. all of these polys used to enjoy
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bipartisan support. republican leaders kept repeating the big lie. if president obama supports it, it won't help you. like any lie, repeating this one got republicans deeper and deeper into it. republicans found that propping contradicted -- they started denying science, or any research that supported democratic policies. the big example, climate change. in the face of consensus worldwide, republicans say they don't believe in science. preventing gun violence is another example. in the wake of an epidemic of mass shootings, republicans reject common sense solutions like background checks. they claim that more guns is the answer. republican leaders even put a
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-- objective facts above the state of the economy. they claim that the unemployment rate is greater now than when president obama took office. this is sad. shocking.g, but not despite job growth and unemployment rate below 5%, republicans are telling millions of americans that president obama has been a disaster for the economy. one after another, facts were mowed down, tossed aside as one big lie. instead of engaging on policy, republicans told americans there was nothing to be done. what did they create? resentment.
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radical groups like the tea , dark moneyshed from the koch brothers. their ideologies and objectives varied, but they all have one thing in common. hatred of president obama, who they considered an illegitimate president. even the most casual observer can see -- the resentment and hatred took three mean forms. fear mongering against muslims. hatred against latinos. these forces were incubated by republican leaders for the past eight years. the most recognizable attempt to
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clear president obama as illegitimate is the birther movement. it all started when a website asked, where is the birth certificate? before long, more and more conservative outlets were discussing this theory. who was the most prominent american behind the birther movement? donald trump. i find it ironic that mitt romney is talking against donald trump. he asked for trump's endorsement. however more insidious, but less obvious attempt to say president obama was illegitimate -- from my colleague mitch mcconnell.
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a report in "the new york times," almost six years ago. here's what it said. "before the health care fight, before the economics in this package, before president obama even took office, senator mitch mcconnell had a strategy for his party, to slow things down, take advantage of difficulties democrats would have in governing, and denies support on any legislation. no president in history has faced the number of filibusters the president obama has faced. despite the fact that the full -- filibusters were launched against things that republicans that were a good idea. during the first six years that lbj served as majority leader, he had overcome one or two.
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in my six years, hundreds. the only possible message that is unprecedented is this president, his ideas are illegitimate. donald trump's style was forged by the senate republican congress. we're seeing a play out before very eyes in the debate over the supreme court. donald trump said, republicans must delay. he did not know who the nominee would be, yet, republicans were
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already resolved to undermine president obama again. if senator mcconnell wonders from where donald trump came, he should take a look in the mirror. the republicans anti-muslim movement is another force that sparked donald trump. there were efforts to convince the people that president obama was a secret muslim. republican leaders did nothing to responsibly address the anti-muslim hate coming from
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their party. now, because of their reaction, they are reaping donald trump's candidacy. the republican party's anti-latino, anti-immigrant, underbelly is the best example of how they have abandoned thoughtful policy for fear. the thousand has allowed for decades the sentiment to develop. republican leaders said nothing as mitt romney urged the policy of self deportation, as jeb bush did for anchor babies, and marco rubio for deporting the dreamers.
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they want to round up and deport 11 million immigrants. republicans have made it a crime for latinos to walk outside without the immigration papers. instead of stepping out this hatred, reluctantly leaders adopted this as part of their platform. republican count on hate with substantive policy. in the senate, they work on an immigration bill, but speaker boehner refused to allow a vote. to this day, i have said, had speaker boehner given it a vote, it would have passed overwhelmingly.
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to his credit, president obama saw inertia. the republican response was both alarming and disappointing. ted cruz and others tried to force a shutdown of the department of homeland security. all the time, donald trump was watching. he saw a rampant extremism condone by republican leaders, either too cowardly or powerless to do anything. the republican party has come, without question, the party of trump. question before us now is this. how should america respond? for conservatives, the answer is simple, withdraw their support from trump, and do it now. they have tried to have it both ways, giving him a slap on the wrist, but deciding to support
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him at the end of the day. after years of refusing -- why are they waiting to withdraw their support? donald trump has made sexist statements, insulted veterans, immigrants and people with , disabilities. violence is being committed against african-americans. trump encourages it all. there is no gray area here. it is time for someone to find the backbone to say, enough. if you think his demagogy is
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wrong, you should not support him. if they refuse to withdraw support from trump, they should put on "make america great again" hats and stand next to donald trump at his next rally. how should progressives respond? we should double down on ideas, to rectify the damage he is doing, we must challenge him boldly. we should do it now. we must continue to be the agents of change. we should remember that the big lie is just that, a big lie. the truth is, progressive policies can and will help the american people. requiring employees to require paid sick leave will make our
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businesses stronger. making college more affordable will bring matters of of opportunity. raising the minimum wage will put more money in the pockets of workers. fixing the roads and bridges will create jobs. studies have shown for every $1 , billion we invest in infrastructure, 47 high-paying jobs are created, and other low-paying jobs spin off from that. ensuring american women are fairly compensated, perceiving equal pay. if they do the work that men do, they should be paid the same. we should restore the american people's faith in the democratic process. we do that by getting the dark money out of our political system. we also have to take a hard look at the government and doing everything we can to make sure it is as effective and dynamic as possible. where there is gridlock, we
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should break it. this is what the democrats did with the nuclear option, when we broke a logjam of historic proportions. our guiding principle should be responding to the needs of hard-working americans. we should be involved to meet the needs of the modern era, to inspire again generation of americans to get involved in public service. we must show we are committed to new ideas. most of all, we should persist the urge to water down or run away from her policy solutions. we should resist the urge to move to the right. a few months ago, i met with the new governor of louisiana. , one,d the governor elect
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how he survived down there. he said, if people asked me if i supported obama care, i just said, yes. if you are a progressive rental uphold your principles, they don't just think you are liberal, they think you are a liar. don't be shy of what we accomplished. democratic policies of the last seven years have created 14 million jobs, dropped unemployment below 5%, and helped 20 million americans gain health care. not bad. today, they're more jobs in clean energy than there are in coal mines. meanwhile, donald trump says he wants to make america great again. what america does he want to take this back to?
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before african-americans had civil rights, or before women have the right to work, before child labor laws? before social security? before the clean air act? we have only one america, and is already great. i might trump, we know what needs to be done to make america greater. the power of ideas will trump trump. [applause] >> thank you so much for those remarks on a whole range of topics. i will ask a few questions, and we will have time for questions from the audience. thank you again for being here.
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i want to ask you one particular question about the supreme court nomination process. majority leader mitch mcconnell morning,erday, or this that he wants to let the public decide about the confirmation. the justice.of sen. reid: here is what he said yesterday, a quote. said, if your goal is to allow people to have input into the supreme court nomination, why not hold hearings to highlight some of the issues. here's what he said. the goal is to let the american people pick the next president who will make the decision.
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it is obvious that we have done this since 1900. we have picked six supreme court justices during the lame-duck presidency.he to have this country wait for 18 months, or so, is so unfair for the country. to get to the supreme court, justices work decades to get there. it is awful what they have done. literally the tens of millions of americans would be affected by the court being stuck for so long. from immigration cases to women's cases, it has an impact on everyone. , way do you on that
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see the debate going on in the supreme court. we have heard some republican senators will meet with the is that the breakthrough? nonetheless, it is. how do you see the debate playing out? to follow up, you said in your mcconnell was really threatening the majority this position.e why do you think he is doing what he is doing? sen. reid: i think the republicans are doing this, led by mcconnell, to satisfy a very loud, rich right-wing people. i think that is what they want to do. this is a big issue with them. time will only tell. i can't imagine how this will help the republicans running for gall tote to have the
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say, we will meet with this hold a vote.ll not it is hard for me. they did it quickly. died withinust hours. what impact you see a trump nomination on the senate landscape? my staff told me not to say this, by can't resist. >> i've been there. [laughter] be right about mexicans building a law and paying for themselves. they will beted, i
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happy to do that. >> to see him have a particular impact in the senate races? people running bluntelection -- portman, know hubby'sn't people could run and say, i'm supporting the sky for president. i don't know they get much better with cruz. you aboutd to ask that. your remarks focused on donald trump, but what are your thoughts on ted cruz? sen. reid: here is what i said ted cruz. as i have been in public
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him on, i disagreed with everything politically, but i always appreciated jim demint for not hiding who he was. there was no surprise. he wrote a book, and talked about what he wanted to be. crews, hesay this but has some principles i don't like what he stands for, but he , very for something little of which i agree with. cruzot as turned off by because he stands for something. trump stands for nothing. , he didn't stand for anything. you really lay out the level
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of obstruction, and the connection between obstruction and the rise of trump. to expect people -- lay outto f republicans reevaluate in the stance they have taken? tif pas a chance that november, we could see some reevaluation? sen. reid: i see people writing are membersple who of the senate, and leadership -- i had a nice conversation with tom daschle this week. tom has no idea what has .appened since he left no idea. this is unbelievable. i've said, and it is true, they have filibustered motions to proceed on things they wanted to get done, just to stall for time. takes time.ter you have to have a vote, 30
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hours wasted, then you get off it, 30 more hours. it is unbelievable, the time we have wasted. people do not understand that ends to which they have gone to stop progress for our country. i appreciate you cannot say tose things publicly, but think we could get -- we might have the hope that we could return to a time, even 15 years ago, or 10 years ago, nine years filibustersere were occasionally, but not the ones we are dealing with now. with the: i look back
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style just working with trent lott, who was extremely .onservative he was a super nice guy. he wanted to do the right thing for the country. i cannt not have a people work with in that regard. i do not dislike mitch mcconnell , i don't have patriots in my whole body against mitch mcconnell. a part of allowing people like trump to be around. because of what they have done, there's tremendous concern by the american people. they think the system is broken.
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it is broken. i have hope that the next congress can be better. it will only come back if there soa return to collegiality that we can get done. right now, there is a path of getting nothing done. >> to think there is a place for moderates in the republican party today? ied a lotave primar of them. moderates.go to the one said to tip o'neill, i'm going to start a hispanic
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caucus. he said, are you going to meet in a phone booth? boothter be a small phone because they don't have anybody to fill it right now. i would say a few things, we got a lot done. >> ferry productive. -- very productive. sen. reid: the first congress of obama, the best ever. we had a lot of people to work .ith right now, you have to search hard. thank you so much for your
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comments. i think we have time for questions. .dentify yourself sen. reid: after they identify themselves, can we protect the question? >> i know you will do whatever you want. the nuclearered option. still a filibuster for the supreme court nominee. do you regret not doing that for the supreme court as well. it looks like there will be a higher bar. to think possibly the nuclear option or change of roles should be changed? sen. reid: i did that on purpose. i looked back at my experience. for example, clarence thomas. back, a lot of support for him.
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. will tell you the whole story i called home, to see how the doing, talk to my wife . i said, i'm going to go vote for someone i don't want to flow for p she said, why you going to vote for him? i said, she is right. said, richard, i'm not going to vote for thomas. we both did not vote for him. thomas got 52 votes. there was not a whisper that we would vote for him. remember, we have people, example, who did not
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get votes in the judiciary committee. we brought him to the floor. i saved the super majority in congress on purpose. would we have been better country? made not to,was and at the time, it was the right thing to do. >> i'm with green wire. you said repeatedly that you think senator mcconnell cave on the supreme court. several centers yesterday, including senator hatch, said they would be open to afterering the nomination the election. is that the most likely option for this caving? we can describe the
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way we feel appropriate. here is how i feel about it. the caving has already started. this may not summit a great breakthrough, but we have a significant number. . bybe, they will be beaten the senate leadership. that is a breakthrough. it is aimagine, breakthrough they will sit on and talk to this good man. that is a breakthrough. i do not think we should cut any slack to anybody. i'm not think they should do it now. to have this man treated differently than anybody else. let's have the hearing. let's have them come to the senate floor. but seven actual debate that people can watch on the committee and on the floor.
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>> as possible. sure. i do not think it's it's a good precedent for the country that we run from a supreme court nominee. >> hello. i'm richard pearson. i'm a federal employee. keeps talking about the federal labor relationship department. everybody talks about the court seat being vacant. more than that. >> if republicans go ahead. thateality is that means come inpresident will with hundreds and hundreds of
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cabinet appointments to make. and come every time a president comes in, there is a huge backlog of these appointments. it could easily go over two years. or, block the nominations from other cabinets. my experience working with federal bureaucracy is the issue have before us. that is something we had the past two years. we are fed scores and scores of nominations held up. it is really difficult to evenehend, ambassadors held up the foreign search officers. the most nonpolitical people in the world. was approve to do
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their pay raise. these are people who work on some of the most difficult places the world. they passed the pay raise. he is absolutely correct. we already have some people that in theld be working with federal government who are not. a lot of them quit and go back to regular job. your point is well taken. >> good morning. my name is jeff krasny. i'm with ib capital. >> i'm with iv capital. last week, there is a press conference with prime minister of canada. mr. trudeau. thatpresident obama said he is talking about negotiations.
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he said you only get about 60% of what you like. , you hold your nose. the other party holes their noses well. you get a negotiation out of it. i am curious, rather than creating this adversarial type of approach, if they could somehow take a step, being magnanimous, crossed the rubicon, in some respects by that mitchssue mcconnell wants. and, negotiate with him in respect to that issue. such as standing back from guantanamo bay. issue,hat particular with respect to the agreement of the supreme court.
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>> i do not mean this in a negative sense. your kind of living in the past. my first 30 years or congress, that is how we did things. legislation is the art of compromise. i've been fortunate to get a number of things out that our law. i never got everything i wanted. we always had to change things. compromise things. way the legislative process works. the problem is that we have nobody to negotiate with. , or not set it to be funny over the line. they had a list of things they wanted. at time. >> exactly. something we have done here a great deal is infrastructure. wherever public and supporting infrastructure bill in 2007. then, 2011 2009, we cannot get that same bill passed. all that had change is that we
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had a different president. done, we lostave one million teachers, police officers, and firefighters. one million. that was during the first year of the meltdown. so, an amendment was offered on the senate floor. those peoplet back. it will be great for the economy. great for this country. here's how it will pay for it. anyone who makes more than $1 they'll pay anr, extra tax. rich people did not care. they would be happy to do that. every republican voted against that. this was clearly held by citrix. being lame -- blamed as a guy me to the republicans come i was on the floor for six years. i did the political stuff.
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that is how i got transit will. i was on the floor from the moment the senate came in. i took care of the republicans. i would make sure that we had a unanimous consent request. democrats get something and republicans get something. i was well-liked by republicans. i protected them. there is no one to work with anymore. they are afraid. , a democratll do and republican will introduce a bill. known will go near. the issue press release at home. >> one last question. >> thank you. i'm with think progress. i want to know, how concerned are you that democratic turnout in the presidential primary has been lower than republican turnout? you talk about doubling down on ideas. how does that turn into votes?
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>> is something we cannot ignore. pundits and political scientists believe that the massive turnouts have been as a result of the rivalry within the republican party. democrats have had this thing going with hillary and bernie for a long time. it was more of a lovefest. they would not be critical. last month, they had a little bit of negative stuff. not as much interest in the democrats is in the republicans. i think that donald trump has brought people who never voted before. i think that should be a concern for the american people. >> thank you for your remarks.
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we are grateful for everything you do every day. [applause] >> today, c-span's road to the
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white house coverage continues with donald trump at a campaign rally in phoenix, arizona. live starting at 2:00 eastern time on c-span. >> next, a discussion about the influence of populism in the united states. alabama senator jeff sessions talks about the impact of trade and immigration of populism, and, the donald trump presidency. a candidate and served as chair of the for policy advisory committee. by theent was hosted american council for capital formation. it is under one hour. ladies and gentlemen, we are extremely pleased to have senator sessions here with us today. for those who don't know, february 28 you with a first senator to endorse mr. trump. march 3, you became chairman of