President Trump on Wednesday took a victory lap after the midterm elections, saying Republicans defied the odds by stopping a so-called “blue wave” of Democrats from taking control of both chambers of Congress.
“There was a big day yesterday. Incredible day,” Trump said during a White House news conference. “The Republican Party defied history to expand our Senate majority while significantly beating expectations in the House.”
Trump suffered a major blow on Tuesday when the GOP lost control of the House, but the president has downplayed that defeat, arguing he feels vindicated by the results in the Senate, where Republicans look like they’ll gain three or four seats.
The president noted that of the 11 candidates he campaigned with during the final week of the race, nine won.
“This vigorous campaigning stopped the blue wave,” he said. “History will really see what a good job we did in the final few weeks.”
Trump blamed GOP losses in the House on the high number of retirements and large fundraising totals for Democrats, as well as negative media coverage that he said “set a new record.”
He also called out several House lawmakers by name, saying their failure to embrace him led to their defeats even though they ran in districts where he is unpopular.
“Too bad Mike,” Trump said of Rep. Mike Coffman (R), who lost in Colorado. The president also appeared delighted that GOP Reps. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Barbara Comstock (Va.) and Mia Love (Utah) were all defeated while distancing themselves from him.
“Mia Love gave me no love. And she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that Mia,” he said.
Taking over the House is a major victory for Democrats, allowing them their first chance to act as a check on Trump. They are expected to carry out aggressive investigations of Trump’s businesses and administration, a dynamic that could pose a real challenge for a president who has not had to worry about a political opponent with power.
But Trump immediately went on the offensive to try to turn the public against the coming onslaught of House oversight probes, painting them as an “investigation fatigue” designed to cause gridlock and stymie his agenda ahead of the 2020 election.
“If that happens, then we’re going to do the same thing and government comes to a halt. And I would blame them,” he said.
Trump appeared to be sending a warning to Democrats that he could use them as a foil, but also dangled the possibility of bipartisan deals on infrastructure and drug pricing.
“It really could be a beautiful bipartisan type of situation,” Trump said.