President Trump, in a contentious post-midterms press conference with reporters, called the elections a “big” and “incredible” day for Republicans given their expanded Senate majority, touting how the party made gains in the chamber even as the GOP lost control of the House.
“It was a big day yesterday,” the president said during a press conference in the East Room of the White House. “Incredible day. And last night, the Republican Party defied history to expand our Senate majority while significantly beating expectations in the House.”
Trump emphasized how the number of Republican senators increased under him – unlike President Obama, who saw a loss of Democratic senators in his first midterm elections in 2010. That year, Democrats lost six seats in the Senate and lost 63 seats in the House.
“This election marks the largest Senate gains for a president’s party in a first midterm election since at least President Kennedy’s in 1962,” Trump said.
Republicans are on track to gain as many as three or more seats in the Senate, while losing more than 26 seats in the House after Tuesday’s vote.
In gubernatorial races, Democrats made steady gains, expanding their power at the state level but nevertheless fell short in key contests where they had hoped to flip Republican seats.
Trump, during the press conference, blamed the House losses on a combination of factors, including retirements of Republicans and incumbents who didn’t embrace him.
“We also had a staggering number of House retirements, so it’s a little tough,” Trump said. “These are seats that could have been held pretty easily.”
The press conference turned testy with reporters at times. After an exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta, a frequent foe, over the migrant caravan, the president lashed out at the reporter and told him he treats White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders unfairly.
“I think you should let me run the country and let you run CNN,” Trump told Acosta. “CNN should be ashamed for himself having you work for them. You are a rude terrible person.”
Earlier, Trump tweeted his support for Nancy Pelosi to serve as speaker of the House.
“In all fairness, Nancy Pelosi deserves to be chosen Speaker of the House by the Democrats,” Trump tweeted. “If they give her a hard time, perhaps we will add some Republican votes. She has earned this great honor!”
Pelosi faces some resistance from the rank-and-file but remains the favorite to claim the gavel in the next Congress. Already, she and her likely deputies have warned that investigations and subpoenas are coming for the Trump administration as they plan to flex their oversight authority.
But Trump said Wednesday that if House Democrats pursue investigations, Republicans could do the same thing, and then: “Government comes to a halt … and I would blame them.”
He said this would just result in a “warlike posture” in Washington.
In an earlier tweet, the president railed against the House Democrats who seek to investigate the Trump administration.
“If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level,” Trump wrote. “Two can play that game!”
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.