We have followed the saga of Harry Reid’s New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day accident or assault, whichever it was, here, here, here and here. Reid suffered severe injuries in the incident: multiple broken bones on the right side of his face, damage to his right eye, bruising down the side of his face, a concussion, and several broken ribs. Reid said this morning that his right eye is “sightless” and the condition may be permanent.
Until today, Reid and his staff have consistently said that the accident happened when an elastic exercise band broke, causing him to fall over:
January 2: “The accident happened when an elastic exercise band broke, striking Reid in the face and causing him to fall, said spokesman Adam Jentleson.”
Dick Durbin: “So, he was stretching these straps and one broke and tossed him like a slingshot against cabinets, built-in cabinets,” Durbin told reporters. “He crashed into it with his face and the side of his body.”
January 22, Harry Reid: “I know there are a lot of rumors as to what happened, but that’s very simple. My wife and I were in our new home. I was doing exercises that I’ve been doing for many years with those large rubber bands and, uh, one of them broke and spun me around and I crashed into these cabinets and injured my eye.”
Politico added this embellishment: “Sources familiar with the incident said Reid was exercising in his bathroom, with the exercise band attached to the shower door,” when the band broke. Mike Leahy of Breitbart News seems to have shown rather persuasively, based on photographs, that this “shower door” elaboration doesn’t make sense.
In any event, many observers have questioned whether Reid’s severe injuries could have resulted from a breaking elastic exercise band. The Capitol Police, which provide security for Reid and reportedly took him to the hospital, have refused to answer any questions about the incident, even as to the time of day when it occurred.
Now, in an interview with Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, Reid has changed his description of how the accident ostensibly happened:
Ramos: You said recently that the accident had nothing to do with your decision to retire.
However, we are seeing the consequences of what happened. What really happened? Was it really with an elastic band?
Reid: Yeah, I had a big, that thick (Reid gestures with his hands), that I had been using for about four years and I was, you know, trying to maintain my, uh, firmness, and, uh, that was my weight training. I was doing that in my new home here in Nevada and a big metal hook that came out from the wall that was hooked there that the strap had no handle on it, slipped, spun me around, uh, about, oh I guess four feet (Reid points with his right hand to the wall of the interview room) and so I smashed my face into a cabinet so hard that uh…
Ramos: It looked like somebody had hit you.
Reid: I am so fortunate that, um, it wasn’t over just a fraction of this way and hit me in the temple.
Ramos: How’s your eye?
Reid: I am sightless in my right eye.
Until now, Reid and his minions have consistently claimed that the exercise band “broke.” Reid can hardly have been oblivious to the significance of now asserting that it “slipped,” apparently because it “had no handle on it.” Why the change? Possibly because many people have pointed out that if the elastic band broke and caused Reid’s severe injuries, he likely has a good product liability case against the manufacturer, and he should be warning others about the risks posed by elastic exercise bands from that source. Saying that the band “slipped” takes the element of product failure out of the story. Also, the shower door is now gone from the story, replaced by a “big metal hook that came out from the wall,” which had never previously been mentioned.
Whether the elastic band broke or slipped, many people doubt that it caused Reid’s injuries. (Note, too, that Reid’s current version didn’t mention his broken ribs.) Ramos said what pretty much everyone has been thinking: “It looked like somebody had hit you.”
This morning I was interviewed on the Doug McIntyre radio show out of Los Angeles. The interview is just seven minutes long; here it is:
The point with which I concluded is that the public does not know what happened to Harry Reid last New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. There are various theories, but little real evidence other than the injuries themselves. But one thing is clear: if the Senate Majority Leader (as he was then) was beaten up, or was in a car accident, or in some other fashion suffered severe injuries including the loss of sight in one eye, and he lied about the incident–as appears highly probable–it is a major news story. One would think that enterprising reporters would make their way to Las Vegas and do some serious investigation, starting perhaps with the Capitol Police, and try to get to the bottom of what happened. So far, it appears that reporters and editors would rather not know.