In his news conference following the midterms, President Trump touted the history-making elements of his party's wins Tuesday night, spoke of bipartisanship, and got into it with a CNN reporter. Highlights:
- "It was a big day yesterday, an incredible day. And last night the Republican Party defied history to expand our Senate majority while significantly beating expectations in the House. We did this in spite of a very dramatic fundraising disadvantage ... and very hostile media coverage. We also had a staggering number of House retirements."
- Among the records he touted: "This election marks the largest Senate gains for a president's party in the first midterm election since at least President Kennedy's in 1962."
- Trump referenced Democratic candidates and their supporters who "worked very, very hard. Like Oprah Winfrey," who campaigned on behalf of Stacey Abrams in Georgia, "who I like, I don't know if she likes me anymore but that's OK. She used to. But she worked very hard in Georgia, very, very hard."
- In speaking about bipartisanship, Trump spoke about the House: "If the Republicans won and let's say we held on by two or one or three, it would have been very hard" to hold a majority. "That puts us in a very bad position. In other words, had we kept ... it puts us in a very tough position." (The Guardian's take: "He does not seem to understand the nature of congressional leadership and the majority party’s ability to run committees, conduct oversight and advance a legislative agenda.")
- "We saw the candidates I supported achieve tremendous success last night," Trump said. "Of the 11 candidates we campaigned with during the last week, nine won last night. History really will see what a good job we did in the final couple of weeks in terms of getting some tremendous people over the finish line."
- As for those who didn't want his help—candidates like Rep. Barbara Comstock and Pete Roskam, per CBS News—he suggested that might have hurt them. "Peter Roskam didn't want the embrace. Erik Paulsen didn't want the embrace. I'm not sure I feel happy or sad. But I feel just fine about it." He also mentioned Mia Love. "Mia Love gave me no love. And she lost. Too bad! Sorry about that, Mia."
- When asked about Jeff Sessions' future, he had this to say: "I'd rather answer that at a little different time. We're looking at a lot of different things including Cabinet... for the most part I’m extremely happy with my Cabinet. I think Mike Pompeo fit in beautifully." The Sessions situation took a dramatic turn hours later.
- CNN reporter Jim Acosta tried to ask a final question regarding the Russia investigation after asking Trump about the migrant caravans. Trump repeatedly told him he was done and turned his body toward a different reporter in an attempt to shut Acosta down. Acosta pushed, and got this: "CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person and you shouldn't be working for CNN."
- Politico notes he also accused PBS NewsHour reporter Yamiche Alcindor of asking a racist question when she referenced comments he made in October about being a nationalist and suggested they could be read as embracing white nationalists. Trump says he was just contrasting his stance with that of globalists and told her, "I don't know why you'd say that. Such a racist question."
- The subject of Trump's tax returns came up, and Politico reports the president said they could not be released because they are being audited. He then shifted to address how complex they are due to the Trump Organization's size. Of the returns, Trump said, "It is big. And it is complex. And it is probably feet high. It is a very complex instrument. And I think that people would not understand it."
On the subject of a potential Democratic investigation into his administration led by the House, Reuters
reports the president cautioned that he would take on a "warlike posture" if this came to pass. "They can play that game, but we can play it better," he said. "All you’re going to do is end up in back and forth and back and forth, and two years is going to go up and we won't have done a thing." Reuters notes Democrats will soon be at the helm of House committees that could look into things like Trump's tax returns and potential conflicts of interest related to his businesses.
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