Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynSenate panel advances antitrust bill that eyes Google, Facebook Democrats up ante in risky debt ceiling fight Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan MORE (R-Texas) suggested Friday that if Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE wins the White House, he'll need a Republican-controlled Congress to approve his policies.
"If Mr. Trump does become the president of the United States, he's going to need a Republican majority to govern," the Senate's No. 2 Republican said on "The Mark Davis Show."
"And I think he would welcome working with Republican majorities in the House and the Senate to move his and the country's agenda forward."
Republican senators have walked a fine line as Trump has risen to the top of the GOP presidential pack.
While many have denounced some of the businessman's policies, they've been wary of cutting ties completely with him or the conservative voters they'll need to keep control of the Senate in November, when Republicans are defending 24 seats.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWe don't need platinum to solve the debt ceiling crisis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble House passes standalone bill to provide B for Israel's Iron Dome MORE (R-Ky.), in particular, has tried to keep the Senate separate from the battle within the Republican presidential field, sidestepping questions about the race on a weekly basis. But the Republican leader told reporters this week that he had spoken with Trump, and suggested that he discouraged violence at his rallies.
Democrats have spent weeks tying GOP senators to their party's front-runner and quickly pounced on Cornyn's comments.
Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats' do-or-die moment Biden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan Progressives push for fossil subsidy repeal in spending bill MORE (D-N.Y.), expected to be the next Senate Democratic leader, said the Texas Republican "has committed a gaffe by telling the truth."
"Donald Trump and Senate Republicans share the same agenda, and Senate Republicans who are obstructing on the Supreme Court are doing everything they can to make sure that Trump chooses the next justice," he said. "Donald Trump won't make America great again, but he will make Republicans the minority again."
Democrats frequently predict a Trump nomination would negatively affect the already tough reelection campaigns for a handful of Republican senators.
Lauren Passalacqua, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said "those running for U.S. Senate will have to answer not only for their own out-of-touch records but also for Trump's offensive statements, radical policies and hateful rhetoric. ... The Republican Party is now the party of Trump."
Cornyn, however, on Friday suggested that Trump or Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzMatthew McConaughey on potential political run: 'I'm measuring it' Professor tells Cruz that Texas's voter ID law is racist Schumer moves to break GOP blockade on Biden's State picks MORE as the party's nominee could help bolster voter turnout in November, but he acknowledged the presidential election will affect congressional elections "because it's very hard for senators and congressman to separate themselves from the national conversations and trends."
"Hillary's such a flawed candidate," he said. "I think this is a great opportunity for us, and I just hope we don't blow it."