Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can certainly be seen as someone who represents the Republican establishment, along with Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan. The two were present at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and made speeches, throwing their support behind nominee Donald Trump.
In an interview with Israel Hayom, McConnell said that he believed the party would be united by the November presidential election.
“Look, you can’t deny the fact that there are some who don’t want to come along, but as far as the public is concerned, there’s no question that today we’re seen as united. I believe that Trump will go up in the polls after the [Republican] convention, just like the Democrats will go up in the polls after their convention in Philadelphia. It’s a natural thing that usually happens, but I think that after that, we’ll be headed for a very close, open race,” the senator from Kentucky said.
Q: Do you think that Sen. Ted Cruz erred in not endorsing Trump in his convention speech Wednesday, thereby giving the impression that an anti-Trump camp was alive and kicking?
“I don’t think it’s a problem if there are people in the party who don’t get behind a nominee. I really don’t think that Cruz’s lack of support can affect the results in November. We need to respect that there are people who find it hard to accept the nominee.”
Q: During the primaries, when Trump won one state after another, they said that he might capture the hearts of the voters, but not the heart of the party establishment. Is that true?
“I wouldn’t put it like that. In an election, there’s no such thing as ‘the establishment.’ It’s not the party ‘establishment’ that decides who the nominee will be. During the primaries, there were a lot of people who could have been establishment candidates, but weren’t elected, whereas Trump, who is seen as an outsider, is who was chosen. In America it’s not the establishment that decides, it’s the public, and that’s exactly what we saw in the primaries.”
Q: Nevertheless, 13 months ago, when Trump announced his candidacy, the party leaders didn’t really believe he would win the nomination.
“I think that the 2016 election is a very unconventional situation. As far as Americans are concerned, this year’s election is something they’ve never experienced. We have to wait and see what November will bring.”
Q: And what do you think it will bring? Does Trump stand a chance against [presumptive Democratic nominee] Hillary Clinton?
“We won’t be telling anyone anything they didn’t already know if we say that neither of these two candidates has high ratings of support. But we’ll have to follow the campaign to see whether after eight years of President Barack Obama we want another four years of Obama if Hillary Clinton is elected, or we want something new. Hillary is going to be the status quo candidate in this election, whereas Trump is going to be a candidate of change. That’s an advantage.”
Meanwhile, Clinton named Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate on Friday, opting for an experienced governing partner who will help her present the Democratic ticket as a steady alternative to Trump’s unpredictable campaign.
The selection of Kaine, a self-described “boring” Virginian with a reputation for low-key competence, could appeal to independents and moderates, but it quickly angered liberal groups that object to his advocacy for an Asian free-trade pact.
The Spanish-speaking former Virginia governor fit Clinton’s long-stated criteria that the vice presidential choice be a capable and reliable partner who is ready to take over the presidency if necessary.
Clinton made the announcement via Twitter and a text message to supporters after the first day of a two-day campaign swing in Florida. She called Kaine to tell him about 40 minutes before the announcement, and called President Barack Obama shortly after Kaine.
“I’m thrilled to tell you this first: I’ve chosen Sen. Tim Kaine as my running mate. Welcome him to my team,” she said in her text message.
Kaine tweeted his response to his new job offer: “Just got off the phone with Hillary. I’m honored to be her running mate. Can’t wait to hit the trail tomorrow in Miami.”