Reid warns Democrats not to underestimate Trump

Reid warns Democrats not to underestimate Trump

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBottom Line Lobbying world Democrats aim to protect Grand Canyon from 'imminent' drilling threat MORE (D-Nev.) is warning Democrats not to underestimate President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE in 2020.

“I used to think that Donald Trump was not too smart. I certainly don't believe that anymore,” Reid told CNN’s David AxelrodDavid AxelrodDavid Axelrod: Bloomberg entry 'not exactly a vote of confidence' in Biden Trump thanks Reid for warning Democrats not to underestimate him Reid warns Democrats not to underestimate Trump MORE during an interview on “The Axe Files” aired late Saturday.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I don't think he's intellectually a powerhouse, but he is basically a very, very smart man,” he added. “No matter what the subject, any argument he involves himself in, it's on his terms. You're always arguing against him. He's never, never willing to debate an issue on terms that aren’t his.”

When asked what advice he would give to a candidate running against Trump, Reid responded: “Well, what I say initially and I say it right here in your show, anyone that thinks Trump's going to be beaten easily should have another think coming.”

Reid also weighed in on the Ukraine scandal that’s sparked an impeachment inquiry against Trump, saying the president’s actions can’t go “unpunished.”

Reid said the “evidence is very clear” that Trump was withholding aid to Ukraine to pressure its president to investigate 2020 presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report Giuliani pens op-ed slamming 'unprecedented' impeachment inquiry MORE and his son.

After Axelrod noted there is “almost zero chance” Trump would be convicted in the upper chamber, Reid also  said he is disappointed with what the Senate has become.

“I'm also tremendously disappointed in what the Republican senators have not become. They have not become the Mark Hatfields of the world, the John Chafees, the John Heinze who are Republican senators who did what they thought was the right thing to do,” he said.

“And we have these Republicans who are afraid to speak out against things that he does that are absolutely wrong and they know they're wrong. The only person we've gotten to say anything is Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyClub for Growth extends advertising against House Dems over impeachment Pennsylvania's other election-night story This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry MORE and [Ben] Sasse who said something out of Nebraska. Other than that, they don't say anything.”

--This report was updated at 1:31 p.m.