COMMENTARY: Harry Reid calls Trump ‘amoral’ — and he should know

WASHINGTON

The gift that keeps on giving to President Donald Trump is that his fiercest critics on the left are no paragons of virtue.

During an interview with Nevada Public Radio on Thursday, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Trump “amoral,” proposed that newly-minted Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, would make a “great foil against Trump” and said Romney should run against Trump in 2020.

It was an odd turnabout from the son of Searchlight. In July 2012, Reid told the Huffington Post that an investor told him of Romney, “’Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years.’ He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain.”

A month later, the Senate’s top Democrat claimed on the Senate floor that Romney, the GOP presidential nominee at the time, “has not paid any taxes for 10 years. Let him prove he has paid taxes, because he has not.”

Reid provided no evidence to corroborate his claim. Politifact rated the claim “pants on fire” false.

Reid was unrepentant. Sure, he had lobbed a bogus charge without proof, but the ends justified the means. In 2015 when CNN’s Dana Bash told Reid some considered his behavior toward Romney to be “McCarthyite,” Reid countered, “Well, they can call it whatever they want. Romney didn’t win, did he?”

On KNPR, Reid explained that he carefully distinguished between “immoral” — “you do things” such as cheat in business or on your wife, and “you feel bad about it” — and “amoral,” meaning “you have no conscience.”

No conscience? As in, “Romney didn’t win, did he?”

Indeed, a caller to KNPR confronted Reid about that very remark, and the former senator was rather Trumpian in his response. “I never said he didn’t pay taxes,” Reid responded. “I said he didn’t pay his fair share of taxes.”

Pants on fire again.

During the interview, Reid also called Romney a fine “moderate Republican.”

In 2012, however, Reid called Romney’s claim that Senate Democrats would work with him a “fantasy” and “laughable.”

At least Reid didn’t vote for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, then decide a decade later that a fence is immoral. That would be Reid’s successor Chuck Schumer, who voted for the Secure Fences Act of 2006, but now finds the notion of border barriers so beneath him.

Reid’s view on immigration shifted before Schumer’s. In 1993, he introduced the Immigration Stabilization Act to revoke birthright citizenship, which he described as “a reward for being an illegal immigrant.” Reid had a dicey recollection on that score as well.

In October, Reid said that as soon as he proposed that bill, “my wife Landra immediately sat me down and said, ‘Harry, what are you doing, don’t you know that my father was an immigrant?’ She set me straight.”

Yet somehow in the year after he was set straight, Reid wrote a piece for the Los Angeles Times in which he supported the 1993 bill.

Look, this is politics. People say nasty things about each other one season, then they’re dining on frog legs together the next. And, yes, that’s a reference to the post-election dinner between Trump and Romney, when the 2012 nominee thought he had a chance at being secretary of state after dismissing candidate Trump as a “conman” and “phony.”

Reid also told KNPR that after the 2012 election, he met with Romney and they had “a wonderful visit and we shook hands when it was over.”

The definition of amoral is when you have no conscience.

Contact Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter.

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