Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) blasted Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives for holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress and attempting to try him in federal criminal court, according to a press statement released on Friday.
“Instead of focusing on jobs, House Republicans are pursuing a political witch hunt against the Obama administration and Attorney General Eric Holder,” Reid said in a statement.
“I support Attorney General Holder, who has done an outstanding job protecting our nation and prosecuting threats to our national security. The attorney general has cooperated with the House, but it’s clear that no amount of cooperation will ever be enough for Tea Party-driven House Republicans,” Reid added.
Top conservative talk show host Mark Levin, who served as chief of staff at the U.S. Justice Department during the Reagan administration, often calls the Nevada senator “Harry ‘the body odor’ Reid,” a reference to one of Reid’s remarks about tourists visiting the Capitol who emit a foul odor.
“Reid often makes astounding comments, but because he’s a Democrat he’s never suffered politically by having wall-to-wall news coverage of his remarks,” said political strategist Mike Baker.
For example, the Senate Majority Leader had to apologize for making racist comments during the 2008 presidential campaign. According to reporters Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, in a discussion with candidate Barack Obama, Reid told him that he would be a success since he was “light skinned” and spoke with no “Negro dialect.”
“He [Reid] was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama – a ‘light-skinned’ African American ‘with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,’ as he said privately. Reid was convinced, in fact, that Obama’s race would help him more than hurt him in a bid for the Democratic nomination,” they wrote.
Reid and other Senate Democrats claim that House Republicans are obsessed with Eric Holder while lawmakers in the House and Senate should be working on passing bills regarding transportation, student loans and flood insurance package.
“Democrats are focused on creating jobs, and we certainly will not waste time in the Senate with votes or hearings on this empty, partisan crusade that does absolutely nothing to help middle-class families struggling to make ends meet,” Reid said.
However, 23 House democrats also voted for the contempt resolution, including 17 Democrats who called for criminal charges to be brought against Holder by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia.
Unlike GOP members of the House, Senate Republicans have appeared less interested in pursuing Holder and investigating Operation Fast and Furious.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, called on the Attorney General to resign, but his colleagues within the Senate GOP leadership have avoided attacking Holder.