WASHINGTON, June 10 (UPI) -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he still supports Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for president, but would not rule out rescinding his endorsement if Trump crosses the line in statements about race.
McConnell, R-Ky., said Trump needs to alter the tone of his campaign or risk saying something that could cost him Republican support.
"I'm not going to speculate about what he might say, or what I might do. But I think it's pretty clear and I've been pretty clear publicly about how I think he ought to change direction and I hope that's what we are going to see."
McConnell urged Trump, who he said "doesn't know a lot about the issues," to stick to prepared scripts when making campaign speeches. McConnell said Trump's impromptu comments in the past have veered off course and caused unneeded stress for the candidate and the rest of the GOP.
"I object to a whole series of things that he's said -- vehemently object to them. I think all of that needs to stop. Both the shots at people he defeated in the primary and these attacks on various ethnic groups in the country," McConnell said in an interview with Bloomberg News. "I think he'd have a much better chance of winning if he would quit making so many unfortunate public utterances and stick to the script."
McConnell is not the only Republican leader to express misgivings about Trump's recent disparaging comments about a "Mexican" judge overseeing his Trump University suit. The judge is not Mexican. He was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrants.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said publicly the comments were "textbook racism," and told ABC News he said as much to Trump directly when the two spoke privately at Trump's request.
Asked whether he thinks Trump got the message to stop using racially divisive rhetoric, Ryan left it an open question.
"I don't know the answer to that question. Getting over that kind of a comment is not, that's, no -- this is something that needed to be condemned," Ryan said. "That comment is beyond the pale. That's not political correctness. Suggesting that a person can't do their job because of race or ethnicity, that's not a politically incorrect thing to do, that's just a wrong thing to say."
Trump released a statement Tuesday, saying he regretted his comments about the judge were "misconstrued" as an attack on all Mexican Americans.