HARRY REID BREAKS SILENCE: Trump's election has 'emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry'

GettyImages 617653588Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesU.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid ripped into President-elect Donald Trump on Friday, calling the New York businessman a “sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fuelled his campaign with bigotry and hate.”

“The election of Donald Trump has emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry in American,” Reid said in a statement.

In his first comments on the election of Trump, who shocked much of the US and world with his election night victory, the outgoing Nevada senator said “watching white nationalists celebrate while innocent Americans cry tears of fear does not feel like America.”

“I have heard more stories in the past 48 hours of Americans living in fear of their own government and their fellow Americans than I can remember hearing in five decades in politics,” he said.

Reid, the Senate minority leader, specifically pointed to the fear some minorities have expressed at the election of Trump.

“I’ve felt their tears and I’ve felt their fear,” he said.

The five-term senator said that he felt “their fear is entirely rational” and implored the news media to not produce “fluff pieces.”

“Every news piece that breathlessly obsesses over inauguration preparations compounds their fear by normalizing a man who has threatened to tear families apart, who has bragged about sexually assaulting women and who has directed crowds of thousands to intimidate reporters and assault African Americans,” Reid said.

He added: “Their fear is legitimate and we must refuse to let it fall through the cracks between the fluff pieces.”

Reid said that the “responsibility of healing” falls “at the feet of Donald Trump,” who he noted “lost the popular vote.”

“Winning the electoral college does not absolve Trump of the grave sins he committed against millions of Americans,” Reid said. “Donald Trump may not possess the capacity to assuage those fears, but he owes it to this nation to try.”

“If Trump wants to roll back tide of hate he unleashed, he has a tremendous amount of work to do and he must begin immediately,” Reid concluded.

Protests erupted across the country on Thursday night. Individuals took to the streets in several major cities to demonstrate against the president-elect.

In some cities, demonstrations descended into chaos. In Portland, Oregon, an anti-Trump demonstration was declared a riot by the police because of “extensive criminal and dangerous behaviour.” In Salt Lake City, protesters threatened reporters, according to reports from the scene.

Trump initially called the protests “unfair,” but quickly changed his tone.

“Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country,” Trump wrote on Twitter early Friday morning.

The president-elect added: “We will all come together and be proud!”

The Republican businessman will be inaugurated as the 45th president in January.

NOW WATCH: Animated map reveals who would win the election if only certain demographics voted

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.