Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) praised former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday — the day after the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report.
“She’s an intelligent and capable person, no question about it,” McConnell told Time Warner Cable News, adding that he had worked well with her in the Senate and would be able to work with her as president.
The Benghazi report details a pattern of incompetence, negligence, and dishonesty by Clinton and her associates. She failed to provide adequate security for U.S. diplomats in Benghazi; failed to take action to save U.S. personnel under attack on Sep. 11, 2012; and then falsely blamed an anti-Islamic YouTube video for inciting a protest that supposedly led to the attack.
In addition, the Benghazi investigation uncovered the existence of Clinton’s private email server, which violated State Department policies and may also have broken laws regarding the handling of classified information. Clinton seems to have used the server to evade Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, possibly in connection with fundraising for her family’s private foundation while in office, including solicitations from foreign donors and governments. She has misled the public repeatedly about the email server, claiming falsely that she did not share classified information and that she had turned over all work-related emails to the government.
Yet McConnell did not rule Clinton out. Instead, he said her presumptive Republican opponent, Donald Trump, had not yet proven himself qualified:
Sen. Mitch McConnell: “Trump clearly needs to change, in my opinion, to win the general election. What I’ve said to him both publicly and privately: ‘You’re a great entertainer. You turn on audiences. You’re good before a crowd. You have a lot of Twitter followers. That worked fine for you in the primaries. But now that you are in the general, people are looking for a level of seriousness that is typically conveyed by having a prepared text and Teleprompter and staying on message.’ So my hope is that he is beginning to pivot and become what I would call a more serious and credible candidate for the highest office in the land.”
Geoff Bennett: “At the moment, though, I hear you saying he does not meet that threshold of credibility?”
McConnell: “He’s getting closer. Getting closer.”
McConnell’s job in the Senate hinges on protecting the Republican majority in November. Many GOP Senators are keeping their distance from Trump, fearing he will be used against them — though there is little evidence yet of that tactic working, and at least some evidence to the contrary.
In McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, Democrats blamed “Trump-mania” for the election of former McConnell opponent Matt Bevin as governor last year.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, will be published by Regnery on July 25 and is available for pre-order through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.