After describing him as “a Cheeto-faced, short-fingered vulgarian,” U.S. Senator Chris Coons said he now “regrets the sharpness” of comments he made during the campaign about President-elect Donald Trump.
In a Thursday morning interview on CNN, Coons said the comments did not come up during his meeting with Trump, on Wednesday, in New York. “He didn’t bring it up, I didn’t bring it up,” Coons said in a satellite interview from WHYY’s Wilmington studio.
Coons originally made the statement insulting Trump while he spoke at the annual Sussex County Democratic Jamboree in Lewes, Delaware in September. Coons also said Trump was “a thin-skinned reality TV star” whose knowledge of Russia and Vladimir Putin “seems so shallow as to shock the conscience.”
He backtracked a bit from those comments. “I regret some of the comments you just repeated, that I made in the height of the campaign, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll step back from raising legitimate questions about his nominees.”
Coons met with Trump to encourage the President-elect to attend the annual bipartisan prayer breakfast. “Our goal really was to explain to him the long history of this big national event where we have representatives from 70 countries around the world,” Coons said.
Trump didn’t commit to attending the event, but Coons said it seemed “nearly certain” that he would, in fact, attend the breakfast.
Because the discussion centered on the non-partisan breakfast, Coons didn’t bring up any of the contentious issues of disagreement.
“There’s a lot of other things I would have brought up if this were a partisan meeting,” Coons said.
Those “other things” include demanding Trump release his taxes and urging him to provide details on how he plans to address conflicts of interests created by his global business dealings.
Other issues Coons didn’t confront Trump with, include his nomination of Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.
“If you nominate someone who’s done business with Vladimir Putin for years, in fact has received a medal of friendship from Putin, I think we have legitimate pointed questions about whether we should be cozying up to a strong man of a country that is our adversary, not our business partner.”