Senate Democratic Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDemocrats brace for tough election year in Nevada The Memo: Biden's horizon is clouded by doubt Fight over Biden agenda looms large over Virginia governor's race MORE (Nev.) blasted his Republican colleagues Wednesday for keeping mum after Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Hackers are making big money MORE’s controversial statements about illegal immigration.
“I’ve heard the comments. They’re distasteful, disgusting and frankly, I’m terribly disappointed that my Republican colleagues here in leadership positions in the Senate and those running for president have basically kept their mouths shut,” Reid told reporters.
“I think that’s unfortunate, and I think that speaks of where the Republican Party is today,” he added.
Trump fueled a storm of controversy by claiming during his presidential campaign kickoff that illegal immigrants from Mexico are bringing drugs and crime over the border.
He also said the illegal border crossers include "rapists," and claimed “tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border.”
Senate Republicans have declined to criticize Trump for the comments, despite the media uproar, and many of Trump’s corporate partners cut their ties with him.
Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderMcConnell gets GOP wake-up call The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats return to disappointment on immigration Authorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate MORE (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday declined to talk about the New York mogul's comments.
“I’m focused on fixing No Child Left Behind,” he said, referring to the pending education bill. “There are plenty of candidates in the presidential race who can deal with each other on those issues. I’m not going to get into it.”
Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynCornyn raises more than M for Senate GOP Is the Biden administration afraid of trade? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After high drama, Senate lifts debt limit MORE (Texas) merely said, “There are serious issues involved, and they need to be treated seriously, and foremost, we need to treat all the people involved with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
He declined to call Trump’s statement a mistake.
“I’m not running for president. You’ll have to ask [them],” he said of the candiates in the 2016 race.
Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOcasio-Cortez goes indoor skydiving for her birthday GOP rallies around Manchin, Sinema McConnell gets GOP wake-up call MORE, among the GOP hopefuls, applauded Trump over the weekend for bringing up border security for a national discussion.
“I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration,” he told host Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “I like Donald Trump. He is bold; he is brash.”
Democrats have seized on Trump’s comments to drive a wedge between the Republican Party and Hispanic voters.
Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden sends 'best wishes' to Clinton following hospitalization The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle MORE, the Democratic presidential front-runner, said she feels “very bad and very disappointed with him, and with the Republican Party for not responding.”
"I don't care how many people running for president on the Republican side try to demean immigrants, insult immigrants, cast aspersions on immigrants," she told CNN. “The Republican candidates — and it’s not just the ones who are most vitriolic, none of them support a path to citizenship. All of them would basically resign them to a life as second-class citizens.”
Trump responded Wednesday by slamming Clinton as “the worst secretary of State in the history of the United States.
“On top of that, she is extremely bad on immigration,” he said, according to Business Insider. “Despite anything you may hear to the contrary, I do not think she is electable,” he said.
Senate Republicans have been careful not to personally criticize Trump, who is known for suing his adversaries and has billions of dollars to spend on political ads.