U.S. Republicans have only themselves to blame for Donald Trump, a "monster" spawned by their constant partisan opposition to all major Obama administration initiatives, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said on Wednesday.
"Republicans created him (Trump) by spending seven years appealing to some of the darkest forces in America," said Reid. He spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate a day after presidential candidate Trump won a string of primary contests and consolidated his status as front-runner to be the Republican nominee in the November election.
Trump's rise has alarmed many establishment Republicans, who are both critical of his positions and skeptical he can win the White House. Reid, known for occasionally delivering controversial statements on the Senate floor, said Trump was now the Republican standard-bearer, but he could destroy the party.
"The reality is that Republican leaders are reaping what they've sown," Reid said, recounting seven years' worth of staunch Republican opposition to Obama's initiatives.
Republicans had decided from the start of Obama's presidency in 2009 that he was an "illegitimate" president, said Reid, who is retiring at the end of this year.
Democrat Obama, the first African-American president, is in the final year of his second four-year term. His presidency has been marked by bitter battles with Republicans over fiscal affairs, a landmark law to expand healthcare coverage for the uninsured, immigration, banking reform and policies to tackle climate change.
Republicans have controlled the House of Representatives since 2011. And while they took control of the Senate in 2015, they previously used their minority status deftly to challenge Obama.
Some Republicans, such as Senator Lindsey Graham, have been outspoken in their opposition to Trump as the prospective party nominee, saying the New York billionaire' s inflammatory rhetoric will lead to defeat in the general election.
Nonetheless, Trump, 69, now looks near unstoppable to be the Republican running against the eventual Democratic presidential candidate - most likely Hillary Clinton.
Among Trump's more controversial proposals have been his call for a wall along the entire southwestern U.S. border to keep out Mexican immigrants.
When Congress was attempting to pass a comprehensive immigration bill in 2013 and 2014, many Republican lawmakers put the brakes on the measure, instead calling for tough border enforcement only.
"Now it's time for Republicans to undo what they've done by denouncing Donald Trump," Reid said. "Trump is the GOP's Frankenstein monster. If the Republicans fail to stop Donald Trump, he'll tear the party apart even more than it is now."
(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Eric Beech and Frances Kerry)