Many community members criticized Rep. Tom Reed’s (R-NY) decision to back Donald Trump’s presidential bid on Wednesday. John Plumb — who is challenging Reed for the 23rd Congressional District seat — accused Reed of “putting politics before country” in a press release Thursday.
Tom Reed’s endorsement of Trump follows Buffalo-area representative, Congressman Chris Collins’ (R-NY) endorsement of the GOP frontrunner, making Reed the second Republican congressman to publicly endorse Trump.
“If he were really interested in moving ‘beyond the bombastic rhetoric,’ he would not have made such a reckless choice,” Plumb said of Reed’s show of support. “This is exactly why we need a new representative in Washington, D.C.”
Students active in Cornell’s political groups also emphasize their disappointment in Reed’s endorsement of Trump.
“Congressman Reed’s endorsement of Donald Trump for President of the United States explains better than I ever could why he is not fit to represent the people of this district,” said Nate Jara ’16, Vice President of Cornell Democrats. “That Reed sees such a vile, xenophobic, and hateful politician as fit not just to represent his party, but the entire country is incredibly disappointing.”
Brooke Cohen ’17, second vice chair of Cornell Republicans explained the recent Republican Party’s response to the possibility of Trump’s nomination.
“Republican leaders are split between two options: to endorse him [Trump] in order to rally support behind the eventual nominee so that the GOP will win the general election and take back the White House or to come out against him in order to turn the party away from the direction Trump and his supporters are taking it,” Cohen said.
Endorsing Trump demonstrates Reed’s belief that the candidate has the ability to win, according to Cohen.
“I think that Tom Reed’s endorsement shows that … he has accepted that Trump will win and has decided to throw his support behind him earlier rather than later,” she said.
Billy Bristow ’16, President of Cornell Democrats, called it “utterly irresponsible for Mr. Reed to support such a candidate at a time when the American people require strong, inspirational leadership.”
According to Cohen, Trump’s polarizing campaign has been successful by appealing to people who feel shut out from mainstream politics.
“[Trump supporters] think that the country is headed in a bad direction and that an outsider who makes statements that they perceive as strong and who is himself a very successful business man will be able to turn the country around and make Washington fight for average Americans again,” Cohen said.
Cohen said that she and many fellow Cornell Republicans are trying to show the Cornell community, “that Republicans are not bigoted,” but acknowledged that Trump’s race is making this increasingly difficult.
“With many of the comments Trump has made, this becomes very difficult,” she said.
I am disappointed that the American people are not able to see the positive and sensible policies of the GOP through all of Trump’s bullying and showmanship.”