Mitch McConnell: Hillary ‘Intelligent and Capable,’ Trump ‘Clearly Needs to Change’

FILE -In this file July 15, 2013 file photo, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. is surrounded by reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. McConnell faces a nearly impossible task this election year: protecting Senate Republicans from the political upheaval of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Trump’s polar opposite in …

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was busy praising presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton Wednesday, criticizing his own party’s presumptive nominee, Donald Trump.

McConnell lauded Clinton as “intelligent and capable” while casting Trump as not yet credible. He told Time Warner Cable (TWC) News that Trump is “getting closer,” but that he “clearly needs to change.”

Trump meanwhile remained focused on calling out Clinton over failures from her time as Secretary of State, tweeting Wednesday:

In the past, McConnell has dodged answering direct questions about his opinion of Trump’s capability, but told TWC that he hopes Trump pivots soon to “become what I would call a more serious and credible candidate for the highest office in the land.” The high ranking establishment official said that he has commended Trump on his ability to entertain and turn on audiences, but that for the general election he needs to up his “level of seriousness,” a level that involves a teleprompter and “staying on message.”

In May, McConnell issued what Politico called a “lukewarm endorsement” of Trump on the basis that the Majority Leader would support his party’s nominee. During this endorsement, McConnell said Trump now has “the opportunity and the obligation to unite our party around our goals.”

Trump has seized on repeated opportunities to highlight criticisms of Clinton and her record as Secretary of State. Following the release Tuesday of the House Select Committee’s report on the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attack, during which Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, Trump called a potential Hillary Clinton presidency “catastrophic for the future of our country.”

He also tweeted:

Trump’s Tuesday speech on trade policy advocated for fostering growth of American industries and slammed former President Bill and wife Hillary Clinton for bringing the troubled North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which Hillary Clinton is said to have helped craft.

A new Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday shows Trump and Clinton statistically tied.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 


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