McConnell: I didn’t think Trump ‘had a chance’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation Overnight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families On The Money: Trump appeals to Supreme Court to keep tax returns from NY prosecutors | Pelosi says deal on new NAFTA 'imminent' | Mnuchin downplays shutdown threat | Trump hits Fed after Walmart boasts strong earnings MORE (R-Ky.) says he never expected Donald Trump to win the presidential election.

"I didn’t think President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE had a chance at winning,” McConnell said on Kentucky Education Television’s “One to One” late Monday. "It never occurred to me that he might be able to win."

McConnell said Trump found a way of reaching voters who felt ignored by Democratic rival Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonJordan calls Pelosi accusing Trump of bribery 'ridiculous' DOJ watchdog won't let witnesses submit written feedback on investigation into Russia probe: report What are Republicans going to do after Donald Trump leaves office? MORE, President Obama and other Democrats.


“I think that there was a lot of feeling among just ordinary people all across the country that the current administration didn’t care about them,” he said.

“Trump was able to convey — oddly enough, a message from a billionaire who lives in Manhattan — a genuine concern for people who feel kind of left out, are sort of offended by all the political correctness they see around them and didn’t feel like this is the America that they’re accustomed to.”

McConnell added that he was most impressed by Trump’s wins in the typically blue Midwestern states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

“What was amazing about Trump’s victory is that he pierced the ‘blue wall’ that I haven’t seen a Republican carry in a long time. He was able to break through and that’s why he won a comfortable Electoral College victory. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.”

McConnell also said during the interview that he thought that Republicans "would come up short" in their bid to hold the Senate. 

"It was really exciting because you get more excited about things you don’t expect to occur.”