Report: Trump Vows to Win Illinois, Slams Kirk | NBC Chicago
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Report: Trump Vows to Win Illinois, Slams Kirk

Trump reportedly vowed to win Illinois in November and called Sen. Mark Kirk a loser during a closed-door meeting with Senate Republicans Thursday, the Washington Post Reports.

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    Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reportedly vowed to win Illinois in November and called Sen. Mark Kirk a loser during a closed-door meeting with Senate Republicans Thursday, the Washington Post reports.

    During the meeting, Trump reportedly admonished Kirk, who withdrew his endorsement of the divisive billionaire last month, and promised to win in the senator's historically blue state.

    Political analysis website FiveThirtyEight currently gives Trump a 3.5 percent chance of winning the state.

    Kirk, who did not attend the meeting, responded to questions from the Associated Press about being called a loser by Trump.

    "I've run for election six times in Illinois," Kirk said. "Really tough races for the Congress and for the Senate and won every race. Otherwise I wouldn't be here."

    The senator also called Trump an "eastern, privileged, wealthy bully," noting that Midwesterners "haven't seen a personality like his too much."

    "Our bullies are made of better stuff in Illinois," Kirk told AP. "We're much more practical and polite."

    Kirk also hit Trump on Twitter, sending the same message to the candidate in both English and Spanish.

    "As I said yesterday and reaffirm today, I don't believe you have the judgment or temperament to be our commander-in-chief," Kirk wrote Thursday.

    Kirk withdrew his endorsement last month after Trump’s statements about the heritage of a Hispanic judge presiding over civil fraud lawsuits against his beleaguered Trump University, calling the comments "un-American."

    “As the presidential campaign progressed, I was hoping the rhetoric would tone down and reflect a campaign that was inclusive, thoughtful and principled,” Kirk said in a statement at the time. “While I oppose the Democratic nominee, Donald Trump’s latest statements, in context with past attacks on Hispanics, women and the disabled like me, mae it certain that I cannot and will not support my party’s nominee for president regardless of the political impact on my candidacy or the Republican party.”

    Kirk previously told NBC Chicago that he would support Trump if he were the Republican presidential nominee in March. Additionally. Kirk told USA Today that he would be willing to serve as a national security advisor to Trump in May.

    Thursday's meeting was reportedly aimed at creating party unity in the lead-up to this month's Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

    The campaign for Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who is running against Kirk, issued a statement Thursday faulting the senator for not standing with other Republican lawmakers who have been critical of Trump.

    "Presumptive Republican nominee and thin-skinned bully Doland Trump reportedly attacked three of his fellow Republicans today: Senators Jeff Flake, Ben Sasse, and Mark Kirk, for not supporting him adequately," Duckworth campaign manager Matt McGrath said. "What's interesting is that Flake and Sasse had the courage of their convictions and confronted Trump directly, while Mark Kirk, who calls himself an 'independent leader,' was in hiding."

    “Kirk’s cynical dance with Trump, supporting him at first and disavowing him after the polls in Illinois went south, is beyond silly, as is his campaign,” McGrath added.

    Kirk's campaign rebuffed the claims Thursday.

    "It's a pathetic and shallow statement," Kirk campaign manager Kevin Artl said in a statement. "Of course Senator Kirk was not going to attend a campaign meeting for a candidate he is not supporting."

    "That's simple common sense."

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