Harry Reid lies even when he tells the truth.
The retired senator surfaced Wednesday to respond to President Trump, who shared a 25-year-old video this week showing the former Nevada lawmaker saying "no sane country" would offer birthright citizenship as "a reward for being an illegal immigrant."
Reid’s decades-old remarks were made in the context of championing his Immigration Stabilization Act of 1993, which promised to “curb criminal activity by aliens, to defend against acts of international terrorism, to protect American workers from unfair labor competition, and to relieve pressure on public services by strengthening border security and stabilizing immigration into the United States.”
Harry Reid, when he was sane, agreed with us on Birthright Citizenship! pic.twitter.com/ypiE1QWKag— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018
On Wednesday, Reid said in a statement provided to media: “In 1993, around the time Donald Trump was gobbling up tax-free inheritance money from his wealthy father and driving several companies into bankruptcy, I made a mistake. After I proposed that awful bill, my wife Landra immediately sat me down and said, ‘Harry, what are you doing, don’t you know that my father is an immigrant?’ She set me straight."
The former senator did indeed change his position long ago on his immigration bill. Reid is on the record in 1999 and again in 2006 saying he considers the bill one of his biggest “mistakes.” But all that nonsense about his wife “immediately” setting him straight in 1993 is just total bunk. Imagine being such an unrepentant and incurable fraud that you lie even when you tell the truth.
Reid authored an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times in 1994 wherein he urged readers to support his immigration proposal. The L.A. Times op-ed was published on Aug. 10, 1994, just over a year after the senator first introduced his bill. Maybe the word "immediately" means something different in the Reid household.
Reid's statement this week concluded: “And in 36 years in Washington, there is no more valuable lesson I learned than the strength and power of immigrants and no issue I worked harder on than fixing our broken immigration system. ... Immigrants are the lifeblood of our nation. They are our power and our strength. This president wants to destroy not build, to stoke hatred instead of unify. He can tweet whatever he wants while he sits around watching TV, but he is profoundly wrong.”
Naturally, the former senator’s statement went totally unchallenged by the press. In fact, a small handful of reporters actually appeared happy — wistful even — to hear from the former Senate majority leader.
“Vintage Reid,” sighed the New York Times’ Glenn Thrush.
The Huffington Post’s Jennifer Bendery said elsewhere, “I miss Harry Reid."
I understand the former leader’s behavior. The man who slandered Mitt Romney as a tax-dodger and later rejoiced that his lie helped stop the 2012 GOP nominee from becoming president has no capacity for shame. What I don’t understand are the supposedly thorough and uncompromising journalists who readily and unhesitatingly accept what Reid has to say. I don’t understand supposedly serious newsrooms uncritically accepting the retired senator’s version of events as if it were God’s honest truth. The man is a known and admitted liar, and he's obviously lying here. Everything he says ought to be thoroughly vetted.
The last word goes to The Week’s national correspondent Matthew Walther, who writes: “It's one thing for politicians to memory-hole everything they said until yesterday while seizing upon random tidbits from their opponents' pasts. It's another thing for journalists to participate in and even encourage this willful amnesia." Indeed.
(h/t Jimmy Princeton)