In an interview with CNN broadcast on Saturday, retired Democratic politician Harry Reid said that President Donald Trump is a “very, very smart man,” warning Democrats against underestimating him in 2020.
Reid, who served as a Senator from Nevada and as Senate Majority Leader, told CNN’s David Axelrod that he has changed his mind about Trump.
Reid, who once described the president as a “con artist” and a “spoiled brat,” explained that even though he does not believe Trump is smart in a conventional way, he believes that he is a smart politician, capable of framing conversations and debates in a way that benefits him.
“I don’t think he’s, intellectually, a powerhouse but he is basically a very, very smart man,” Reid said.
“No matter what the subject, any argument he involves himself in, it’s on his terms. You’re always arguing against him. He never, never, is willing to debate an issue on terms that aren’t his,” he added.
According to Reid, whoever wins the Democratic nomination needs to understand that Trump should not be underestimated. On the contrary, the veteran politician said, Trump cannot be beaten easily.
“Anyone that thinks Trump’s going to be beaten easily should have another thing coming.”
The first ballot will be cast months from now, but the Democratic primary appears to have already evolved into a three-way race.
Leading the crowded field of Democratic White House hopefuls are former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Polls have consistently suggested that all three would beat Trump in 2020, according to Vox. However, the publication noted, early general election polls can be misleading for various reasons.
Apart from discussing the 2020 presidential election, Reid weighed in on the situation in Congress, stressing that he is “disappointed” by what the upper chamber has become.
The former Nevada senator criticized Republicans for being “afraid” to stand up to Trump, noting that Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska appear to be the only ones willing to “speak out.”
“Other than that, they don’t say anything,” Reid said of GOP senators.
On #AxeFiles on @CNN, @SenatorReid says he’s “tremendously disappointed" in the Senate Republicans who almost certainly wouldn't vote to convict @realdonaldtrump: "these Rs are afraid to speak out against the things he does that are absolutely wrong & they know they’re wrong" pic.twitter.com/1WDCypIadI
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) October 12, 2019
Reid singled out and criticized South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, who went from being one of Trump’s fiercest critics, to being one of his most loyal allies.
The Nevada Democrat suggested that Graham changed after his friend John McCain died.
“He suddenly was no longer a John McCain Republican. He became a South-Carolina-I-want-to-get-reelected Republican, and he is a tote and fetch guy for the President,” he said.