Monday 23 September 2019

Trump celebrates Senate gains and mocks losing Republicans

Donald Trump held a triumphant White House press conference despite losing control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections.

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the East Room at the White House (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the East Room at the White House (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

By Jonathan Lemire, Catherine Lucey and Darlene Superville, Associated Press

President Donald Trump has revelled in his party’s victories in the US Senate and mocked fellow Republicans who lost after not seeking his support.

Speaking in a 90-minute White House news conference after his party lost control of the House of Representatives in the US midterm elections, Mr Trump also suggested he may be able to govern more effectively after losing a chamber of the Congress.

Mr Trump faces the prospect, starting early next year, of endless investigations after Democrats formally take control of the House.

But he celebrated Republican success in retaining the Senate and seemed to blame losing candidates from his own party for distancing themselves from him.

Mr Trump told reporters: “I thought it was very close to complete victory.”

Mia Love gave me no love and she lost

Mia Love gave me no love and she lost Donald Trump

He also belittled the number of high-profile Democrats, including his predecessor, who supported their candidates, while suggesting that he alone was responsible for the Republican triumphs.

“I only had me. I didn’t have anybody else,” Mr Trump said.

Though boasting that Republicans appear likely to hold the highest number of Senate seats in 100 years, Mr Trump was quick to distance himself from his party’s failure to maintain control of the House.

In a remarkable scene, he called out defeated Republicans by name.

He said: “Mia Love gave me no love and she lost.”

“Candidates who embraced our message of lower taxes, low regulation, low crime, strong borders and great judges excelled last night,” he continued.

“On the other hand, you had some that decided to, ‘Let’s stay away. Let’s stay away’. They did very poorly. I’m not sure that I should be happy or sad, but I feel just fine about it.”

The president’s rebuke was felt on Capitol Hill. Ryan Costello, a Republican from Pennsylvania who announced his retirement from the House earlier this year, tweeted his displeasure with Mr Trump.

He wrote that his colleagues have had to “bite ur lip more times you’d care to; to disagree & separate from POTUS on principle & civility in ur campaign; to lose bc of POTUS & have him piss on u. Angers me to my core”.

Mr Trump suggested there could be room for bipartisanship, declaring that Democrats — who made opposing him a centrepiece to their campaign — would, in fact, be eager to work with him on issues like infrastructure.

But he also declared that Republicans would retaliate if Democrats use their control of the House to issue subpoenas to seek his tax returns and investigate his business dealings, his cabinet’s conduct and his campaign’s ties to Russia.

“They can play that game, but we can play it better. Because we have a thing called the United States Senate,” Mr Trump said.

“If that happens, then we’re going to do the same thing and government would come to a halt and we’re going to blame them.”

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