Not everyone's happy about Donald Trump and the Republican party's quasi-makeup session on Thursday. After Trump (sort of) made nice with House Speaker Paul Ryan and proceeded to attend meetings on Capitol Hill, Sen. Harry Reid slammed Sen. Mitch McConnell for his party's decision to unify around the Donald. In fact, the Senate Minority Leader attacked Republicans in general for paving the way for the rise of Trump.
Of course, it's not surprising that Republican leaders are beginning to make the superficial move to rally around Trump. That Ryan still refused to endorse Trump was the more shocking news, but he appeared to have definitely warmed up to the Donald. After the presumptive Republican nominee met with the highest-ranking Republican in the House of Representative, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted it was "a very positive step toward unification." Ryan even called Trump "warm and genuine." Trump? Warm and genuine? The guy who, as Reid said on the Senate floor Thursday, is "obstructionist, anti-woman, anti-Latino, anti-Muslim, anti-middle class, anti-environment and anti-Obama and anti-everything Republicans" — that guy?
It's pretty easy to rant against Trump's ridiculous and offensive rhetoric. In fact, the rants almost write themselves, but the Senate Minority Leader made an especially nuanced point that is often lost in all the buzz about Republican infighting and speculation of an impending civil war within the party. Reid said the reason why the Republican party and Trump seem to have become friendly is because the former actually condoned a candidate like him.
Reid said before the Senate:
Donald Trump is everything that the Republican leader and his party could ever want in a nomination. Trump’s policy positions are identical to the Republican Party platform, and today Sen. McConnell can discuss when they meet in an hour or two that consensus with Trump.
On Trump's sexism, Reid continued,
After all, the Republican party has spent years blocking every substantive bill for American women. Equal pay for equal work. The Senator has tried to undermine women’s health at every turn. Trying to turn Planned Parenthood into a punching bag, even though millions and millions of women have been helped by Planned Parenthood.
Reid also said:
Since Sen. McConnell has so enthusiastically embraced Trump, we can only assume he agrees with Trump’s view that women are dogs and pigs.
On Trump's anti-immigration and wall-building policies, he said, "Let’s not forget, Republicans have demagogued Latinos and immigrants for decades. They’re doing it today.”
Reid attacked McConnell and the GOP, not because they're missing a chance to speak out against Trump's bigotry, but because many of their policies and views actually match his. Trump and the Republican establishment are not as far apart as some in the former may want Americans to think. Reid's attack is a good wake-up call: Trump's views and policies aren't unique to himself. He may be the loudest and crassest about them, but they've existed in the GOP long before he began running for president.
The undercurrents of similarities between the party and Trump mean that unifying may not be as problematic as it's been touted to be. Superficially, Trump may not act like the typical Republican establishment politician, but I just don't think his views are that new to the Republican establishment.
And it isn't that Trump is reinforcing these policies, but that these policies are reinforcing him. "At some point in their conversation, Donald Trump should thank the senior senator from Kentucky," Reid said. "Trump owes his candidacy to the Republican leader and to the policies he’s led ... Republicans during the last eight years have made Donald Trump a reality."