In an extraordinarily combative news conference Wednesday after voters delivered him a rebuke by giving control to the House to Democrats, President Trump went after Republicans, Democrats and the media.
He mocked Republican candidates who distanced themselves from him, called a reporter an “enemy of the people” and walked away from the lectern at one point, telling a reporter to sit down.
Trump said that if Democrats try to use their majority to issue subpoenas, it would be a “war-like posture.”
He said that he could work with Democrats on issues such as infrastructure and health care, but that if they conduct investigations into his administration, “then were going to do the same thing, then government comes to a halt and I blame them.”
He said that Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, who lost her re-election bid Tuesday night, “showed me no love,” and that Barbara Comstock, who lost her suburban Virginia district, “didn’t want my embrace.”
Trump said Tuesday’s results were “very close to a complete victory,” despite Republicans losing control of the House. The GOP did add to its majority in the Senate.
Earlier Wednesday, he praised House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi while warning Democrats against investigating his administration.
Of Pelosi, who with her party capturing the majority of seats Tuesday stands to become the next speaker of the House, Trump tweeted that she “deserves to be chosen Speaker of the House by Democrats,” that “she has earned this great honor,” and even suggested some Republicans could vote for her, if Democrats “give her a hard time.”
Some Democrats said during their campaigns that they would not back Pelosi, but it’s not clear yet whether there are any Democrats willing to challenge her for the post. And it seems highly unlikely that any Republican will vote for the woman their party has demonized in thousands of campaign ads.
Trump’s show of support for Pelosi is not entirely out of character. Both are deal-makers. In 2007, Trump praised her as “the best,” when she was first sworn in as speaker. He has yet to come up with a derogatory nickname for her, as he has with many of his other Democratic foes, although that could certainly change. For her part, Pelosi has said that without bipartisan support, Democrats are unlikely to pursue impeachment charges against the president, although that too could change.
In another tweet on Wednesday morning, Trump issued a threat to Democrats, saying that if they “think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we likewise will be forced to consider investigating them for all the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level.” He added, “Two can play that game!”
Democrats have promised to hold oversight hearings on the Trump administration when they take control in January. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who is set to become chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said Wednesday that he intends to:
“shine a light on waste, fraud, and abuse in the Trump Administration. I want to probe senior Administration officials across the government who have abused their positions of power and wasted taxpayer money, as well as President Trump’s decisions to act in his own financial self-interest rather than the best interests of the American people.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also issued a warning for Democrats on Wednesday morning. They must think carefully about whether to proceed with a “presidential harassment” strategy that exploits their new majority in the House to afflict Trump, he said.
Trump also took credit for Tuesday’s results in another tweet, saying, “To any of the pundits or talking heads that do not give us proper credit for this great Midterm Election just remember two words-FAKE NEWS!”
But while some of the red state Senate candidates whom Trump campaigned for did win, the results in the many suburban congressional seats previously held by Republicans now in Democratic hands show voters sent a decidedly mixed signal.