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Story highlights

Trump's campaign manager called Reid's comments "beyond the pale"

Reid aide shot back with a statement Sunday

(CNN) —  

Kellyanne Conway said Sunday Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s attacks on Donald Trump last week were “beyond the pale” – and seemed, at least briefly, to hint at a lawsuit.

Reid on Friday had said that “the election of Donald Trump has emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry in America” and that “white nationalists, Vladimir Putin and ISIS are celebrating Donald Trump’s victory, while innocent, law-abiding Americans are wracked with fear.”

“I find Harry Reid’s public comments and insults about Donald Trump and other Republicans to be beyond the pale. They’re incredibly disappointing. Talk about not wanting my children to listen to somebody,” Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Then, she added: “He should be very careful about characterizing somebody in a legal sense. He thinks – he thinks he’s just being some kind of political pundit there, but I would say be very careful about the way you characterize it.”

Conway’s reference to “a legal sense” led host Chris Wallace to follow up, pressing Conway on whether she was suggesting Trump might sue Reid.

“No, I’m not suggesting that at all,” Conway said. “I’m calling for responsibility and maturity and decency for somebody who has held one of the highest positions in our government, in a country of more than 300 million people.”

Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, noted that Reid is retiring and said she is “really pleased as are many Americans that he won’t be the Senate minority leader much longer.”

Reid’s office swung back in a statement issued by an aide Sunday, pointing to Conway’s comments as a “threat of legal action.”

“It took only five days for President-elect Trump to try to silence his critics with the threat of legal action. This should shock and concern all Americans,” said Adam Jentleson, Reid’s deputy chief of staff in the statement.

“Trump has always used threats and intimidation to silence his critics. Now he wants to silence a discussion of the acts of hate and threat of violence being committed in his name across the country,” he said.

CNN’s Ted Barrett contributed to this report.