Senate GOP leader won’t say if he thinks Trump is qualified to be president


Is Donald Trump qualified to be President?

Hillary Clinton joins New York Pride parade

Hillary Clinton made an unannounced, but brief appearance during New York’s annual Pride parade Sunday.

The presumptive Democratic nominee joined New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo near the Stonewall Inn, designated just this week by the Obama administration as the first national monument to LGBT rights.

Amid a scrum of reporters and photographers, Clinton marched for four blocks, a surprise to onlookers along the Christopher Street route.

Clinton marched in the parade as a Senate candidate in 2000, and again in 2006 as she sought a second term in the Senate. Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, represented the campaign at last year’s parade.

The former secretary of State is scheduled to address the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Indianapolis later Sunday.


Clinton continues to lead Trump in two new polls

(Chuck Burton / AP)

Two new polls continue to show Hillary Clinton leading the presidential race against Donald Trump, although the surveys differ on the size of her margin.

Clinton holds a 12 point lead, 51%-39%, in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, which shows roughly two in three Americans saying the wealthy businessman is not qualified to be president. That includes roughly one-third of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in the survey.

An NBC/Wall St. Journal survey, also released Sunday, showed a close contest. That poll showed virtually the same level of support for Trump as the Washington Post/ABC survey, but a lower level of support for Clinton. It showed the former secretary of State leading 46%-41%.

An average of all recent polls shows Clinton leading 46%-39%.

The Post/ABC poll found the public in a somewhat contradictory mood about President Obama. On the one hand, it found Obama’s job approval at 56%, continuing a trend of increasing approval that many surveys have found this spring. On the other hand, it also found that after nearly eight years of Obama’s presidency, an identical 56% would like to see the country head in a new direction.

Trump wins about two-thirds of those who want to see a different direction, the Post/ABC poll found. That level of desire for change, however, is almost identical to what the same poll found in 1988 and 2004, both years in which the incumbent party won.

Trump has made an effort to capitalize on the desire for change by reaching for voters who supported Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries. Both surveys showed little sign of that strategy working. Only a small slice of Sanders’ supporters, 8% in the Post/ABC survey and 10% in the NBC/WSJ one, said they planned to back Trump.

Both surveys also showed Trump doing poorly among non-white voters. The Post/ABC survey found more than two-thirds of voters saying that Trump made racist comments about federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over a fraud lawsuit against Trump University.

Trump leads among white voters, but with a sharp division along educational lines. Among whites with a college degree, Clinton led 50%-42%, according to the Post/ABC poll. If that holds up, she would be the first Democrat to capture a majority of college-educated white voters since modern polling began collecting such data in 1952.

Both surveys were conducted by telephone, including landlines and cell phones, through June 23. Each questioned roughly 1,000 people -- all registered voters in the case of the NBC/WSJ survey, adults aged 18 and older for the Post/ABC poll. Each has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points in either direction for the full sample.


Senate GOP leader McConnell refuses to say if Trump is qualified to be president

(Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, refused to say Sunday whether he thinks his party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump, is qualified to be president of the United States.

“Look, I’ll leave that to the American people to decide. You know, he won the Republican nomination fair and square,” McConnell said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” in response to a question about whether the Kentucky senator felt Trump was qualified to be president.

“He got more votes than anybody else against a whole lot of well-qualified candidates. And so our primary voters have made their decision as to who they want to be the nominee. The American people will be able to make that decision in the fall.”

McConnell’s evasiveness highlighted the heartburn Trump and his controversial campaign style and statements have caused Republican leaders and conservative intellectuals as they look ahead to a difficult general election campaign against Hillary Clinton. McConnell and other party leaders are in a tough spot, especially in the wake of Trump’s provocative statements dealing with Mexicans and Muslims.

Already, Trump’s statements and positions have led to some high-level defections.

Republican Sen. Mark Steven Kirk, who has a tough reelection bid in President Obama’s home state of Illinois, said this month that he would not support Trump.

On Friday, Henry Paulson, President George W. Bush’s Treasury secretary, wrote in the Washington Post that he would back Clinton because “the GOP, in putting Trump at the top of the ticket, is endorsing a brand of populism rooted in ignorance, prejudice, fear and isolationism.”

George Will, the influential conservative columnist, said on Saturday that Trump had prompted him to leave the Republican Party.

And last week, Brent Scowcroft, national security advisor to President George H.W. Bush and an advisor to Presidents Gerald R. Ford, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, said he was endorsing Clinton.

McConnell said it would be up to Trump to fix his campaign and that he believed there was time for the mogul to “right the ship.”

“I think there is no question that he’s made a number of mistakes over the last few weeks,” McConnell said. “It’s a long time until November. And the burden, obviously, will be on him to convince people that he can handle this job.”


Sanders says Clinton will have to go further to win full backing of his supporters

(AFP/Getty Images)

Bernie Sanders said Sunday that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will have to adopt more of his positions to win over millions of his supporters and ensure she can defeat Donald Trump in November.

“It’s not just Bernie Sanders saying, ‘Oh, yes, just vote for Hillary Clinton,’” the Vermont senator said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “It is Hillary Clinton standing up and saying, ‘You know what, these are the things we need to do.’

“And if she does the right thing, I am absolutely confident that the vast majority of my supporters will vote for her.”

Sanders, who had waged an aggressive primary campaign against Clinton and has refused so far to formally concede the race, has said he would vote for the former secretary of State, but has stopped short of fully endorsing her in what is expected to be a bruising campaign against Trump.

Sanders said Sunday that he and his supporters will continue to prod the Democratic Party to adopt more of his campaign’s policy positions as it heads into the general election campaign against Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee.

At a meeting this past week in St. Louis, a party committee produced a draft platform that highlighted Sanders’ influence by endorsing the breakup of big banks and a $15-an-hour nationwide minimum wage.

But the committee declined to accept some other Sanders positions, including imposing a carbon tax to address climate change, a ban on hydraulic fracking and opposition to the Obama administration’s proposed Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

The Vermont senator said he would continue pushing for his positions next month during a party meeting in Orlando, Fla., and then during its convention in Philadelphia.

“We won some very, very important victories in our effort to try to make it clear to the American people that the Democratic Party stands with the middle class, stands with working families and is prepared to take on Wall Street and the big-money interests,” Sanders said.


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