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Harry Reid Blames GOP’s ‘Mindless Behavior’ for Trump’s Rise

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Harry Reid delivered a blistering speech Thursday morning blaming the Republican leadership for Donald Trump’s rise.

Speaking at the Center for American Progress, the Senate Minority Leader said, “For eight years, [Republican leaders] drained all the oxygen from the policy debate in this country by replacing thoughtful engagement with resentment and hatred… This is exactly the kind of mindless behavior that has hollowed out our political debate and created the conditions for Trump to rise. Republican leaders created the drought conditions. Donald Trump simply struck the match.”

Reid cited a myriad of examples of Democratic policies and proposals over the course of President Obama’s administration that he felt Republicans acted unfairly towards, including the Affordable Care Act, gun control, and most recently, Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

Reid said Republican obstructionism bred “resentment and hatred” in its party. “This resentment and hatred took three main forms,” he said. “First, rendering President Barack Obama “illegitimate.” Second, fear-mongering against Muslims. Third, sowing hatred against Latinos. These forces, which are all now synonymous with Donald Trump’s candidacy, were incubated by Republican leaders for the past eight years.”

In the end, Reid called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to denounce Trump, and for Congressional Democrats to push forward progressive policies.

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Write to Tessa Berenson Rogers at tessa.Rogers@time.com