Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) did little to hide his frustration Thursday morning, using a recent legislative setback to blast Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) as a "dishonest" colleague and a "failure" in his broader leadership duties.
"My big complaint is -- Harry Reid is a nice guy. I like him -- but I think he has been a failure as a majority leader for the Senate in terms of keeping the history of the Senate and the progress of the Senate in line with what it was intended to be by our founders," Coburn said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
Coburn defended a failed pro-gun amendment that he'd attached to a water resources bill on Wednesday, saying that allowing people to carry guns on lands controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was important.
Coburn drew criticism ahead of the vote from water bill author Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who questioned adding the measures on such an unrelated bill. Coburn responded Thursday by shifting blame to Reid.
“They were very good to allow me an amendment,” Coburn said of the bill's authors. “And the reason they did is because Harry denied the amendment on the gun bill, on one that would’ve passed and actually solved the promise, which he promised to give me.”
Reid issued a statement later in the morning responding to Coburn's appearance on "Morning Joe." “I am extremely disappointed in my colleague, Senator Coburn, for his comments this morning. If he wishes to raise concerns with me I would have hoped he would talk to me directly. He and every other Senator knows my door is always open. Sadly, Senator Coburn's lack of discourse is perhaps an example that too many are more interested in media attention than they are in working to find consensus to fix our nation's problems.”
Coburn also planned to attach a second amendment to create a registry of the guns and ammunition owned by the federal government, but later dropped it.
Coburn went on to express optimism that he'd eventually get the pro-gun measure passed, before expanding his blitz on Reid.
“I think that has been Harry Reid’s mode of operation the last seven years,” Coburn said, claiming that Reid was influencing legislative procedure to gain an advantage in the 2014 elections. “He has been dishonest with me, not truthful, not kept his word. He’s played games, you know. We’ve done our own damage to that in response to it. So what we have is people pointing fingers at each other.”
Coburn has taken similarly aggressive jabs at Reid in the past. Last year, he declared Reid "incompetent and incapable of carrying on the leadership in the Senate." Reid took offense at the nature of the attack, and Coburn eventually took to the Senate floor to offer an apology.