Election 2020

McConnell: Trump 'Not Attacking Any Other Americans' This Week 'Was a Good Start'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is interviewed June 2, 2016, in Washington. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Asked if Donald Trump should apologize for remarks about a judge of Mexican heritage, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) noted Wednesday that at least the presumed GOP nominee hadn’t insulted anyone new that day.

After days of media appearances referring to the Mexican parentage of the U.S. District Court judge presiding over the Trump University fraud case, Trump said in a statement Tuesday that his statements, such as “he’s a Mexican; we’re building a wall” had been “misconstrued as a categorical attack against people of Mexican heritage.”

McConnell told CNN that “maybe using a prepared text” in Trump’s Tuesday night primary win speech “and not attacking any other Americans was a good start.”

“So I think it’s still time for him to begin to act like a presidential candidate. Should be acting. And though I haven’t given up hope, but certainly last year, last week was not a good week for Donald Trump,” the Senate GOP leader said.

Asked if that was a “low bar,” McConnell replied “it’s a good step in the right direction.”

“You know, I’ve run into him at the NRA Convention in my hometown of Louisville a couple of weeks ago, and I said, hey, Donald, we were in the green room and I said, hey Donald, you got a script? He pulled it out of his pocket and said, ‘I hate a script, it’s so boring.’ And I said, ‘put me down in favor of boring,'” he said.

“He’s now one of the two people that are going to be president of the United States of America. And he needs to begin to act like a presidential candidate. It’s not inappropriate to have thoughtful remarks and nothing wrong with reading them. And I hope that we’ll see more of that.”

Trump used a teleprompter on Tuesday; he previously used scripted speeches for two foreign policy addresses.

“Look, if he wants to win the election, he needs to quit these gratuitous attacks on various Americans. Not only those who competed with him for the nomination, but various Americans, you know, of — based on their ethnicity, is completely unacceptable in America in 2016,” McConnell continued. “Donald Trump has got a lot of good qualities, but he needs to put them forward, and suppress some of these other actions. That while they may have been issues that didn’t defeat him in the Republican primaries, he’s now got a totally different electorate. Out all across America, people of different ethnic background if he’s going to be president, he’s going to need to be president of all of the people, not just some of them.”

The Senate leader said GOPs just want to see Trump “run the kind of campaign that gives him a chance for a victory.”

“The primary voters have selected Donald Trump to be the change agent, and what we’re trying to do is to get him to act and speak like serious presidential candidate.”