Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) conceded Wednesday that calling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) an ‘a–hole’ was inappropriate, but defended his concerns about Senate leadership preventing members from working across party lines.
“It’s just the fact that the Senate is not doing what it’s supposed to do, and the leadership of the Senate has set it so they can’t actually form consensus,” Coburn said when asked about the remark in an appearance on “Fox & Friends.” “My words weren’t appropriate, but my frustrations are real. Our founders designed the Senate to force consensus, and you can’t force consensus if you don’t allow amendments and you don’t allow people’s voices to be heard.”
Coburn called Reid an “absolute a–hole” Monday at a fundraiser in New York City, after saying he had “great” relationships with Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.
Reid’s office responded Tuesday to the comment.
“Nothing says ‘comity’ like childish playground name-calling, especially from a senator who has not sponsored a single piece of successful bipartisan legislation during his entire Senate career,” Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson told the Hill.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.