Reid made it clear he has been tracking President-elect Donald Trump’s post-election comments with interest.
“I have to say this — he’s not as bad as I thought he would be,” he said.
Reid gave one example of how Trump had surprised him.
“We heard from Trump that one of the first things he was going to do is repeal [the Dreamers] executive order. In an interview he had with Time magazine in the last day or two, he said, ‘Nah, I’m not going to do that’ — those young people deserve to stay here,” Reid told NPR.
Trump has said that his immigration priorities are to deport illegal immigrants who commit crimes, seal the border and then address the issue of illegal immigrants living in the U.S.
“We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud,” Trump said to Time magazine after being named its Person of the Year. “They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Reid said the difference between Trump in campaign mode and Trump in governing mode is good news.
“He’s not going to prosecute Hillary Clinton criminally, as he said he would do. Obviously he didn’t believe in all of the stuff he said — which is a step in the right direction,” the senator said.
Reid noted that his connection with Trump long predates the real estate mogul’s presidential campaign.
“You know, it’s not as if Donald Trump and I have been enemies our whole lives — he’s done fundraisers for me. When I was elected last time he sent me a letter saying ‘you’re awesome’ — a handwritten note,” he said.
Reid noted that as he leaves Washington and Trump arrives, he has hope.
“It’s not as if I have hate in my soul for Donald Trump. I hope, beyond all, that he does well. It’s important to the stability of this great nation we have. And I’m hopeful — I keep using that word, but that’s what it is — hopeful that he will lessen his rhetoric and work toward a safer, more productive America,” he said.
Reid said Democrats must fight for their policies, but must also pick their fights.
“I told them what they have to do is to make sure that they’re constructive in their negativity,” he said.
Also Thursday, during his farewell remarks on the Senate floor, Reid noted that amid fierce political battles with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the two men have confined their difference to politics and not taken them personally.
“This is not a love session for Reid and McConnell, although I want everyone to know here Mitch McConnell is my friend,” Reid said.
“So everybody go up and make up all the stories you want about how we hate each other, but we don’t,” he added.
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