LAS VEGAS (AP) — Former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid said Thursday that he thinks President Donald Trump has no conscience and said he’d like to see Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney challenge Trump in 2020 for the GOP nomination for president.
“I’ve had dealings with the man,” Reid said of Trump. “I think he’s amoral. I don’t think he has a conscience.”
Reid, the 79-year-old Democrat who served as Senate Majority Leader, said in a radio interview with KNPR in Nevada that the partial government shutdown over Trump’s push for a U.S.-Mexico border wall is an example of Trump’s behavior.
Reid said the border wall does not have popular support, but the shutdown over it is causing people to suffer financial harm.
The White House did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Thursday.
Reid said later in the interview that he didn’t think there was much more Democrat Hillary Clinton could have done to defeat Trump in the 2016 election, calling Trump’s win “an aberration.”
“It was a time in the country that they were looking for something different,” he said. “And believe me, they got something different with Trump.”
Reid, who is seen as a political kingmaker and remains a sought-after endorsement among Democrats, said he has met with many candidates considering a run for president in 2020, including former Vice President Joe Biden.
Reid said that it’s well-known that Biden is thinking about running and would be the front-runner. But the only thing that may be holding him back is the 76-year-old’s age, Reid said.
“Everyone is waiting to see what Joe Biden is going to do,” he said.
The Nevada senator said he has also discussed potential bids with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, California Sen. Kamala Harris and California billionaire Tom Steyer, who bowed out Wednesday.
“Any of them would be good,” he said, adding, “That doesn’t mean that I’m going to be out beating the bushes for any one of them” ahead of Nevada’s nominating caucus next year.
Reid was asked whether Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer had been an effective replacement of the Nevadan. “I think the world of Chuck Schumer, and I would never, ever second-guess what he’s doing,” Reid said.
Reid said Thursday that he and Romney had differences in the past. But he said he likes Romney and thinks he’s “a moderate voice the Republicans need.” He also insisted that he had claimed Romney hadn’t paid “his fair share of taxes,” rather than no taxes and said he was glad he had raised the issue.
Reid hammered Romney on his taxes during the 2012 presidential race, including an unsubstantiated claim that Romney paid no income taxes for a decade and criticism about his choices to keep money in Swiss and Cayman Island accounts.
“I think he would be a great foil against Trump,” Reid said Thursday. “I think Republicans may even allow him to be nominated, to be the Republican nominee. That would be good for the country.”
A message seeking comment from Romney’s office was not returned Thursday.
Reid also disclosed that his health is strong and he’s doing fine despite a pancreatic cancer diagnosis last year.
“I’m doing fine. Everything is working out well,” he said. “I’m strong and have a pretty good life I think.”
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