Harry Reid. As the kids say: I cannot even.
Reid said 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.”
Reid’s tax allegation about Romney was one of the most memorable smears of the Obama era, partly because it was so thin and partly because of his national prominence. It’s not unusual for a presidential candidate to be accused of something baselessly; it’s not unusual for a major party figure like the Senate majority leader to throw some roundhouses during a presidential election. But for the Senate majority leader to level an explosive, completely baseless smear against the other party’s candidate?
Unusual. Outrageous. It seems quaint in hindsight, now that we have a president who built his political base by accusing his predecessor of lying about his eligibility for the office and pretty obviously used a low-rent tabloid to launder ridiculous smears of his opponents during the primary. But pre-2015, Reid’s attack on Romney was almost legendary as a McCarthyite groin punch in modern times by a prominent Washington politician against the opposition’s nominee.
True to form, he’s lying about it to this day. The story quoted above says Reid claims he never accused Romney of outright tax evasion, merely of not paying his fair share. That’s a naked falsehood:
A month or so ago, he said, a person who had invested with Bain Capital called his office.
“Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years,” Reid recounted the person as saying.
“He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” said Reid. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?
When he was criticized for publicizing an accusation which he had no reason to believe was true, he doubled down and said the burden of proof was on Romney to disprove the claim. A Reid aide later went on to say that Reid’s source for the rumor was a Republican — then retracted that. Romney eventually released his tax returns, proving that he had in fact paid. Reid’s reaction: “He’s hiding something. He’s hiding something! It is so evident he’s hiding something!”
A few years later, as Obama was finishing out the second term that Reid had helped him win, Reid was asked if he had any regrets about stooping to such an insanely sleazy ploy. He did not. Quote: “Romney didn’t win, did he?”
This is the guy now calling for Trump to be primaried because he’s … amoral. “What amoral means is this,” said Reid in this same interview. “Immoral is you do things and you feel bad about it… If you are amoral, you have no conscience.” Where does “Romney didn’t win, did he?” fit on the immorality/amorality scale?
Does he hate Trump simply because Trump is better at Reid’s own game than Reid is?
I’m sorry to hear about his health problems but he’s a rodent and always has been. Exit question: How does Mitt Romney feel about earning the coveted Harry Reid endorsement after everything that’s happened between them? A gentleman like Mitt would never promote a dubious tax allegation against an enemy to try to damage him during a presidential campaign.