While avoiding saying Donald Trump’s name out loud, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday on Capitol Hill that “the early indications are that our nominee is likely to be very competitive.”
“We know that Hillary Clinton will be four more years of Barack Obama. I think that’s in the end going to be enough to unify Republicans across the country,” McConnell said in a press conference after the GOP caucus lunch, the first official gathering of Republican senators since Trump emerged as the party’s presumptive presidential nominee.
The Kentucky senator also refused to weigh in on whether it hurt party unity to have a handful of Republican senators saying they didn’t support Trump as their nominee.
“I think you can speak to each of our colleagues and get their own take on where we are. I’ve already given you my view.” McConnell said. “We have a nominee, he looks like we may well be very competitive, and we want to win the White House.”
He named Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio as states that be believes will be competitive in the general election, citing a recent poll.
McConnell is one of the Senate Republicans slated to meet with Trump when he travels to the Capitol on Thursday and he said Tuesday “we’re looking forward to the meeting, at his request, later this week.”
“Most of our members believe that he won the nomination the old fashion way,” he added. “He got more votes than anybody else, and we respect the voices of the Republican primary voters across the country.”
McConnell would not elaborate on what he wants to hear from Trump, who will also meet with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), the most prominent Republican to say that Trump hasn’t earned his support yet.
“I am not going to start telling you what I might say to him privately,” McConnell said. “We’re looking forward to having a cordial meeting to discuss the way forward.”