Southern Tier Republican Rep. Tom Reed spent most of a Tuesday conference call with reporters discussing his feelings on President Donald Trump’s inflammatory tweets over the weekend.
“I don’t agree with the tweet,” he said. “I think the sentiment can be interpreted, rightfully, as offensive and I think it was inappropriate.”
On Sunday, Trump posted a series of tweets, directed at four progressive freshman congresswomen, including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Democrats have widely panned the statements as racist and criticized Republicans for failing to condemn them.
Reed’s office previously sent a statement to some media outlets – although Spectrum News and others on the call had not received it – opposing the “form” but not the substance of the president’s message. When we asked specifically what he disagreed with, he elaborated.
“Obviously the reference to going back to the country that you came from, I can understand how that can be interpreted the way that it’s being interpreted,” Reed said.
As for criticism he or other members of the GOP did not respond quickly or strongly enough, he said there’s not much he can do.
“You’re never going to pacify that voice that raises that objection,” Reed said. “I’ve had people argue that I need to be more passionate with my objections and that the voice isn’t loud enough in regards to our objection and so I don’t know how to do that in regards to my style.”
The congressman indicated he did raise his concerns about the tweets directly with the administration. At the same time, he defended the president with whom he said he’s developed a relationship.
“I am confident in telling you that I do not believe that he is a racist. I have seen firsthand his heart and I will tell you I think that heart is not that one of a racist,” Reed said.
He reiterated, he does not agree with the “extremist agenda” of the Democratic congresswomen and believes their ideology is not good for the long-term well-being of the country. He said he doesn’t support a House resolution condemning the tweets, which is expected to come for a vote tonight.