Despite House Loss, Trump Still Sees Midterms Success

President plans 11:30 am press conference to discuss the election results.

President Donald Trump looks at his watch near the end of a campaign rally Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

By Published on November 7, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — Resigned to the loss of one-party control over Washington in Tuesday’s elections, President Donald Trump stared down the prospect of endless House investigations, stymied policy efforts and fresh questions about the resilience of his unorthodox political coalition. He celebrated GOP success hanging on to the Senate.

Trump stayed quiet for much of election night as Republicans maintained their hold on the Senate and Democrats captured control of the House — a shift all but certain to redefine his presidency. Late in the evening, he offered a brief tweet that simply read: “Tremendous success tonight. Thank you to all!”

Early Wednesday, Trump declared on Twitter: “Now we can all get back to work and get things done!”

Trump called House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, a conversation that her office said included congratulations and a nod to her pitch for bipartisanship.

Widely viewed as a referendum on Trump’s presidency, Tuesday’s results offered a split decision that revealed deep tensions in the American electorate — distances that could easily widen during two years of divided control. Trump’s aggressive campaign blitz, which paid off in some key victories, suggests he is likely to continue leaning into the fray.

Control of the House gives Democrats the ability to launch investigations into the president and stifle his agenda. But White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders minimized the magnitude of Democratic gains.

“Maybe you get a ripple, but I certainly don’t think that there’s a blue wave,” she told reporters, pointing to several early Republican wins.

As for Republicans retaining control of the Senate, she called it “a huge moment and victory for the president.”

White House aides called on Democrats to work with Republicans in the next Congress.

Said White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, “I don’t know that there will be much of an appetite for Democrat lawmakers to spend all of their time, or most of their time or even a fraction of their time investigating, instigating, trying to impeach and subpoena people.”

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In addition to his conversation with Pelosi, Trump called Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as a number of candidates he backed during the race, the White House said.

Trump had aggressively campaigned in the closing days of the race, his focus on boosting Republicans in states that he carried in 2016. In the three races he targeted in the final day, Trump’s picks all won Tuesday night, with Republican Mike Braun defeating Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Republican Josh Hawley defeating Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri and Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine defeating Democrat Richard Cordray in the race for Ohio governor.

The White House for days has been stressing the historical headwinds it faced: In the last three decades, 2002 was the only midterm election when the party holding the White House gained Senate seats. And only twice in the past eight decades has the president’s party picked up House seats in the midterms.

Trump spent election night watching returns with family and friends at the White House, his shadow looming large over the results.

Nearly 40 percent of voters cast their ballots to express opposition to the president, according to AP VoteCast, a national survey of the electorate, while about 25 percent said they voted to express support for Trump.

Anticipating the possibility of keeping the Senate but losing the House, aides in recent days had laid out the political reality to Trump, who could face an onslaught of Democratic-run investigations. In turn, Trump began trying out defensive arguments ahead of Election Day, noting that midterm losses are typical for the party in the White House, pointing out a high number of GOP retirements and stressing that he had kept his focus on the Senate.

Aides set up televisions in the White House residence for Trump, first lady Melania Trump and their guests to watch election results come in, with the sets tuned to different cable news channels. Among those expected were Trump’s adult children, White House aides, Republican officials and presidential friends.

The election served as a referendum of sorts on Trump’s rhetoric and the strength of the coalition that powered him to the White House — a group he will need again in just two years.

Returning to his immigration-heavy 2016 playbook, Trump went on to unleash his full fury on a caravan of migrants slowly making their way to the southern border. His take-no-prisoners approach troubled many Republicans seeking to appeal to moderate voters in suburban House districts, but Trump prioritized base voters in the deep-red states that could determine the fate of the Senate.


Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • Chip Crawford

    Efforts employed; results realized. And it took those efforts …

    I hope the message really gets inside Pres. Trump about tone and rhetoric. He has sworn by his punch-back strategy, and it is needed and effective – by appropriate measure, that is. His blunt instrument and wide shots aren’t helpful, and that finally needs to come home to him. He needs to see that his idea that they deserve it is in his way, because the unmeasured and crude retorts cost him more trouble – of the kind that can be justified. It’s also selfish, looking after his own instead of the people. Proportion is the key. He definitely needs to respond and not leave the field to the abusers, but not give them ammo. Eccle. 10:10 “If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success.” Effective words are needed and the self control to use only those.

    However, Pres. Trump is not blindly stubborn. He listens to people and changes. But when he sees their way doesn’t work, he has the ability to return to his own instincts and trust them. His strategy is seen by those with enough objectivity to register it, whether they speak about it. He needn’t be concerned by the detractors so much. That’s another costly blind spot – that requiring enemies to credit him without rehearsing the voices of so many who do. It needs to come home to him that their blunt efforts are ineffective as well. With all that has been done to thwart him, the myriad schemes by practiced political schemers and the unrelenting mass of media … It’s pretty incredible actually. It has not worked.

    God uses and is with this flawed vessel, who is actually more malleable in many ways than a lot of “tenured” Christians. When people ask us about supporting the president, it is the prayer support that we need to have in place and tell them about. I don’t support a man and his actions per se, but support him in prayer to the Father per his command that I do so. They can get that or not. But that is what it should be, and is very pivotal as our part and vastly effective in real time. So thank you Lord for continuing to work in our leaders and circumstances on behalf of your good plans for our nation.

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