Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Newsmax TV
on Friday that "I worry about Donald Trump's rhetoric" — and that his comments could turn off Hispanic voters like Barry Goldwater's opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act did to African Americans.
"It eliminated the possibility of Republicans speaking to African American voters, and that's persisted for a long time," McConnell, a six-term Kentucky Republican, told "Newsmax Prime" host J.D. Hayworth in an exclusive interview.
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McConnell, 74, is the author of the new book, "The Long Game: A Memoir."
He also will be interviewed Monday on Newsmax TV's "The Steve Malzberg Show."
"Goldwater had many good qualities," said McConnell, who is pictured with the former Arizona senator in his memoir. He was 89 when he died in 1998.
"I was a great admirer of his, but I think that decision was a defining moment in terms of the Republican Party and its ability to appeal to African-American voters.
"I don't want to see that happen to Hispanic Americans."
President George W. Bush took 44 percent of the Hispanic vote 10 years ago, McConnell told Hayworth. In the 2012 election
, only 27 percent of Latinos voted for Mitt Romney.
"I worry about Donald Trump's rhetoric. I wish he would discontinue it."
The majority leader noted Trump's slam last week of New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, the nation's only Hispanic female governor and head of the Republican Governors Association.
The attack "struck me as really quite odd, because we know Donald's going to be the nominee now," McConnell said. "I support him, he won it the old-fashioned way, he got more votes than anybody else.
"But this is the time to be bringing Republicans together and getting unified in order to go into the general election to beat Hillary Clinton."
Because neither Trump nor Clinton have strong likeable ratings among voters, the November election will be all about politics, McConnell told Hayworth.
"Do the American people want four more years just like the last eight? America's been underperforming now for eight long years.
"This is the worst recovery after a deep recession since World War II," He added, referring to reports Friday that the nation's workforce grew by an anemic 38,000 jobs in May — the worst in more than five years. "It's been the history in America.
"President [Barack] Obama's not had one quarter, not one, of 3 percent growth. Record numbers of people on food stamps.
"Americans are struggling. That's why they're so angry," McConnell told Newsmax. "You see that on the left with the Bernie Sanders brigades — and certainly that fed the rise of Donald Trump."
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