McConnell: Trump is underestimated

McConnell: Trump is underestimated
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table Senate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo On The Money — Biden stresses calm amid omicron fears MORE (R-Ky.) predicted Tuesday that Donald TrumpDonald TrumpPence: Supreme Court has chance to right 'historic wrong' with abortion ruling Prosecutor says during trial that actor Jussie Smollett staged 'fake hate crime' Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table MORE, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, will be more competitive in November than many political analysts expect.

McConnell told reporters he is buoyed by a new Quinnipiac poll showing Trump within a few points of likely Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCountering the ongoing Republican delusion Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future MORE in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, three crucial battlegrounds.

“It looks to me like at the beginning of the race, Florida and Pennsylvania and Ohio look pretty competitive,” he said.

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The Quinnipiac survey, conducted from April 27 to May 8, showed Trump leading Clinton by 4 points in Ohio and trailing the former first lady by only 1 point in Florida and Pennsylvania.

McConnell told reporters at the end of last year that he saw it as extremely important the eventual GOP nominee for president be able to win in swing states. At the time, his comments were interpreted as indicating a preference for more mainstream candidates such as Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioWisconsinites need infrastructure that is built to last  Republicans struggle to save funding for Trump's border wall Rubio: Dropping FARC from terrorist list threatens Colombians, US security MORE (R-Fla.) or former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

McConnell said he is looking forward to meeting with Trump on Thursday morning at the National Senatorial Campaign Committee office, near the Capitol.

“I think most of my members believe he’s won the nomination the old fashioned way. He got more votes than anybody else, and we respect the voices of the Republican primary voters across the country, and we’ll sit down and talk about the way forward,” he said.  

He declined, however, to say what specific points he would bring up with the real estate mogul.

Earlier this year McConnell advised Trump in a phone call to condemn the violent confrontations that had erupted at several of his rallies.

And last year he panned Trump’s proposal to temporarily bar Muslims from entering the country as “inconsistent with American values.”

While many Senate Republicans would have preferred another nominee, they are starting to rally around him as a better alternative to Clinton and extended Democratic control of the executive branch.   

“We know the alternative is four more years like the last eight. I don’t think the American people are thrilled,” McConnell said, citing sluggish economic growth, which slowed to 0.5 percent in the first quarter of this year.

“We know Hillary Clinton will be four more years of Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaWe must eliminate nuclear weapons, but a 'No First Use' Policy is not the answer Building back a better vice presidency Jill Biden unveils traditional White House holiday décor MORE. I think that’s going to in the end be enough to unify Republicans across the country,” he added.