Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Connected Commerce Council - Biden faces reporters as his agenda teeters Biden hits one-year mark in dire straits 'All or nothing' won't bolster American democracy: Reform the filibuster and Electoral Count Act MORE (D-Nev.) backpedaled Wednesday after joking that, among the current Republican presidential field, he's considering backing Donald Trump for the nomination.
"Look, we've gotten along fine," the Democratic leader told reporters. "With that bunch of people running, I'm kind of pulling for him."
Reid made the remark after the GOP front-runner touted his ability to work with top Democrats in Congress, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), expected to be the next Senate Democratic leader.
Asked about Trump's statement, Reid added, "Oh, I remember the good old days when he did a fundraiser or two for me."
Reid quickly walked back his comments, apologizing for joking about supporting Trump — whom he called a "hateful demagogue who will do immeasurable damage to our country."
"There's some things I shouldn't joke about," he said from the Senate floor. "The danger of a Donald Trump candidacy to our country is not a joke."
Conservatives, including Trump's top rival in the upcoming Iowa caucuses, Ted Cruz, have been critical of the real estate mogul's apparent willingness to negotiate with Democrats.
Reid added that he was "trying to be funny" with his comments on Trump.
"Obviously it wasn't very funny, Schumer kicked me in the back [of the] leg," he said. "I'm watching with pleasure the Republicans fumbling around. ... I just think it has made a mockery of our Republican Party."
Reid has repeatedly used weekly press conferences and the Senate floor to disavow Trump, suggesting last year that the businessman's positions — including a push to ban Muslims from entering the country — underscore that Republicans are running on a "platform of hate."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was also asked if he thought a President TrumpDonald TrumpPredictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure A review of President Biden's first year on border policy Hannity after Jan. 6 texted McEnany 'no more stolen election talk' in five-point plan for Trump MORE could work with congressional Republicans but declined to weigh in on the 2016 election.