Harry Reid Renounces Past Support to End Birthright Citizenship While Blasting Trump

“He can tweet whatever he wants while he sits around watching TV, but he is profoundly wrong.”

Tom Williams/ZUMA

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On Wednesday, after President Donald Trump picked up on 25-year-old remarks from then-Sen. Harry Reid supporting an to end birthright citizenship, the former Democratic majority leader, who is undergoing cancer treatment, issued a withering statement blasting Trump and his anti-immigrant policies. Reid noted that his previous call to change the 14th Amendment had been “a mistake.”

“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,” Reid said, alluding to Trump’s family history of engaging in possibly criminal tax schemes. “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.”

“Immigrants are the lifeblood of our nation,” the statement continued. “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.”

Shortly after Reid’s statement was released, Trump tweeted a 1993 video of Reid arguing that “no sane country” would offer birthright citizenship. The issue has been highlighted amid Trump’s anti-immigrant push ahead of the midterm elections, after Axios released a clip of the president discussing supposed plans to use an executive order to end birthright citizenship.

Most legal scholars agree such a move by a president would be unconstitutional.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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