WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney embarrassed the United States, and himself, by going to London and insulting the British in advance of the Olympics, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday evening.
"It's not good for us as a country -- it's not good for him -- but as a country to have somebody that's nominated by one of the principal parties to go over and insult everybody," Reid said.
Romney, who takes great pride in heading the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, caused a media sensation Thursday when he said there were "disconcerting" signals that the British might not be prepared for the coming games.
Reid, in an interview with The Huffington Post, said he didn't understand how Romney could have made such a blunder, and had advice for the GOP hopeful the next time he visits an Olympic Games.
"I think I would have thought up this on my own and not [have to rely] on the staff," said Reid. "I would go there and I would say, 'They have done a remarkably good job. I know how they have been hurt with the economy. But they have done this. I have done it myself. It's so hard to do, and they have done a remarkably good job.' That's what they should have done. He would have been cheered and not have the mayor, before 60,000 people, belittle one of our major party nominees. And that's what the mayor did."
A Romney spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.
Romney also duffed his first foreign trip as the presumptive GOP nominee by revealing that he held a secret meeting with British intelligence about the games. His disastrous performance is being chronicled minute by minute on Twitter with a hashtag dedicated to him -- #RomneyShambles.
Conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron mocked Romney in his rebuttal. "We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course, it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere," he said, referring to Salt Lake City.
Romney has long been looking forward to the Olympics as a way to move past the storm of his unreleased tax returns and scrutiny around his time at Bain Capital. Reid said he doesn't think Romney has found dry land.
"You don't weather a storm by creating a couple along the way," Reid said.