Trump, McConnell meet amid party tension

Story highlights

  • Trump mentioned the meeting in an off-hand remark at a campaign event Saturday
  • Trump has been under fire from both Democrats and Republicans over his recent comments criticizing a federal judge

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met quietly on Friday as public support from the party establishment for Trump has frayed over his controversial rhetoric.

Trump mentioned the meeting, which took place in Williamsburg, Virginia, in an off-hand remark at a campaign event Saturday in Tampa, Florida, as he warned that Republican senators who don't endorse him could lose their seats in November.
    "Then I'd have a Senate without the majority, which would be bad because I would love to see the majority. I was with Mitch yesterday. I would love to see the majority," Trump said.
    A source familiar with the meeting later confirmed to CNN that it had taken place. The Daily Press, a newspaper based out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, reported the meeting was at the annual Senators Classic golf weekend at the Williamsburg Inn. Trump, on his way to an evening campaign rally in nearby Richmond, stopped by.
    The Daily Press reported that the meeting lasted about 90 minutes, during which Trump met with about two dozen Washington power brokers. Ben Dendy, a Richmond-based lobbyist, told the paper Trump mingled with the crowd and addressed the reception.
    Trump has been under fire from both Democrats and Republicans over his recent comments criticizing a federal judge overseeing a lawsuit against Trump University. The judge, Gonzalo Curiel, is Indiana-born but of Mexican ancestry, and Trump has said he has a "conflict of interest" because of the billionaire's tough immigration policies and vows to renegotiate trade deals with Mexico.
    Leading Republicans condemned Trump for the attacks. McConnell said Sunday he "couldn't disagree more" with Trump's comments, and House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday called the remarks the "textbook definition of a racist comment." On Friday, McConnell kept up his criticism of Trump, saying it was "obvious" the billionaire doesn't know much about "the issues."
    Earlier in the week, Trump said Republicans who are critical of his comments against Curiel "have to get over it" and "they shouldn't be so angry for so long."
    On Saturday, Trump lamented the lack of unity in the Republican Party regarding his campaign, though he continued to level attacks against some Republicans, most notably 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, who told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Friday that a Trump candidacy could result in "trickle-down racism."