Reid won't attend state dinner with 'dictator' Hu
January 19th, 2011
06:17 PM ET
12 years ago

Reid won't attend state dinner with 'dictator' Hu

Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who in a Tuesday television interview called Chinese President Hu Jintao a "dictator," won't attend the formal White House state dinner in Hu's honor Wednesday. However, a Reid aide insisted the two aren't connected and said Reid can't make the dinner because he "is traveling back from Nevada and it takes all day."

"It's not like he's in DC and he's avoiding it. He's been in Nevada for the last week or two," said the aide who asked not to be identified. "It just didn't work out that way. I think you shouldn't be reading anything it to it. It's a logistical question."

Asked if Reid would have attended if he wasn't traveling, the aide responded that he would not answer a 'hypothetical question."

The aide couldn't say when Reid was invited to the high-profile dinner.

House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell are not attending the dinner either.

Reid and Boehner will meet separately with Hu in the Capitol Thursday.

In an interview with a local Nevada TV station Tuesday, Reid said, "I'm going to back to Washington tomorrow to meet with the president of China. He's a dictator. He can do a lot of things through the form of government they have. Maybe I shouldn't have said dictator, but they have a different type of government than we have and that is an understatement."

Jon Summers, a spokesman for Reid, explained more fully Reid's comments.

"Senator Reid himself said that wasn't the best choice of words and corrected it immediately, but what he was referring to is the different form of government we have than the Chinese. Obviously, he believes strongly in the American political system and our form of government. He also believes that it is important for us to continue our dialogue with the Chinese government about a wide range of issues which are critical to both countries, including our economy, Iran, North Korea."

Filed under: China • Harry Reid
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    Make it sound hateful CNN. For god's sake – if you can get China to treat us the way the tea party treats democrats, you'll have lots of murders and wars to talk about 24/7. Keep it up CNN.

    January 19, 2011 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. steve b

    If Sen. Reid wanted to be at the dinner he would have left Nevada a day earlier.
    End of story.

    January 19, 2011 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. mark

    Yet Harry Reid is all for borrowing China's money

    Now there is someone Las Vegas can be proud about.

    January 19, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  4. Patriots Salute the Flag! Traitors don't!!!

    Thank goodness there will be enough to embarass us there now.

    January 19, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  5. GOP Taliban Victim

    Reid is right. China does have virtual martial law. It's called Communism. Of course the Big $ Lobbyists and their Republican allies don't care about Human Rights, sending our $ to Communist HQ, or selling-out the American workers.

    It really has nothing to do with politics. It's all about the $$$.

    January 19, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  6. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Now what the heck does Reid or Boehner have important to say or offer to Pres. Hu, absolutely nothing but a photo op.

    January 19, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  7. Marissa Livengood

    Is it possible for a President to have two more embarrassing Leaders of the Congress in Reid and Boehner? Reid does not know what he is talking about and Boehner can't stop drying over the mundane. Amazing...

    January 19, 2011 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  8. muse

    I can't believe this guy is an elected official.

    January 19, 2011 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. surely496

    Yes, Hu is a dictator, but think about a country with almost one and half billion people. They would have chaos if they had a more liberal government. If a fraction of the population was disenchanted they would have huge social unrest. Democracy like ours is not for every country. But I do think there is a lot of room for improvement in human rights.

    January 19, 2011 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  10. Dan Bednarik

    Not attending the state dinner is a mistake and sends the wrong message Mr. Boehner, Reid, and McConnell. The last thing one should show the Chinese is partisan behavior. When the President invites you to a dinner, keep your dirty baggage at home and GO! As a voting taxpayer, and a person who pays your salaries – you are fired.

    January 19, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I am not sure that I would want to meet Hu either. I'd have to worry about holding my tonge. I might make some passing reference to slave like conditions and the lack of the people to protest peacefully.

    January 20, 2011 07:11 am at 7:11 am |