A Republican senator says Donald TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Energy: Trump set to sign offshore drilling order Bush ethics lawyer: Trump should strip Flynn of military title Dems might begin again with Kamala Harris and California MORE would be a better choice for president than any Democrat even if hadn't disavowed the endorsement of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
"Even if you're disappointed with the way he's responding to things, even if you're mad at him, you disagree with him, if he did it intentionally — I don't think he did, I think he just made a mistake — even if he did, they're still going to do a better job with him there than if you had Hillary or Bernie in his place," Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) told the Huffington Post on Tuesday.
"Honestly, I've only been here a year, but I can tell you that I can't think of a single person who would be in favor of, or promote anything to do, or give any credibility to any movement that would suspect or promote additional activity on the part of white supremacists," Rounds said when asked about Republican lawmakers' feelings about Trump as their nominee.
“Down the line, Republican or Democrat, there is no room anyplace for supporters of the KKK or any other white supremacist group."
During a CNN interview Sunday, Trump was asked about Duke's endorsement of him. He declined to denounce the white supremacist, saying he wasn't aware of Duke or any groups he's affiliated with.
The real estate mogul later backtracked, saying that he had a faulty earpiece during the interview and didn't understand the question.
Rounds on Tuesday noted that Trump's remarks were disappointing.
"I think it's an unfortunate response. A very unfortunate response," he said.
"My choice would still be — honestly, I'm still leaning to Marco RubioMarco RubioOvernight Defense: Commander calls North Korea crisis 'worst' he's seen | Trump signs VA order | Dems push Trump to fill national security posts What’s with Trump’s spelling mistakes? Boeing must be stopped from doing business with Iran MORE, as I suspect there are others [who] are," he added.
Rounds, though, said that Trump would still be a better choice than either Democratic candidates Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonOvernight Cybersecurity: Anticipation builds for Trump cyber order | House panel refers Clinton IT contractor for prosecution | Pentagon warned Flynn about foreign payments Trump’s foreign policy of more is about money Meghan McCain: Obama 'a dirty capitalist like the rest of us' MORE or Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Energy: Trump set to sign offshore drilling order Meghan McCain: Obama 'a dirty capitalist like the rest of us' Dems might begin again with Kamala Harris and California MORE.
"But nonetheless, our critical issue is fixing things in the United States, and you can't do that if you've got Bernie or Hillary, because they have a differing point of view about what's right and what's wrong with this country," he said.
Updated at 6:18 p.m.