Trump on midterms: ‘Tremen­dous suc­cess’

Yuma Sun - - ELECTION 2018 -

WASH­ING­TON — Star­ing down the po­ten­tial loss of one-party con­trol in Wash­ing­ton, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump de­clared Tues­day’s elec­tion re­sults a “tremen­dous suc­cess” for Repub­li­cans as his party main­tained its hold on the Se­nate while Democrats picked up GOP-held seats in the House.

Trump waited un­til late in the night to weigh in on the midterm vote, tweet­ing a suc­cinct mes­sage that over­looked ex­pected Demo­cratic gains in the House, writ­ing: “Tremen­dous suc­cess tonight. Thank you to all!”

With re­sults still com­ing in, Repub­li­cans had a chance to in­crease their ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate. Democrats were gain­ing speed in their quest for the House, which would give them the abil­ity to launch in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the pres­i­dent and stymie his agenda.

White House spokes­woman Sarah Huck­abee San­ders min­i­mized likely 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.”

The White House 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.

Op­po­si­tion to Trump proved to be more of a mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor for Democrats than sup­port for the pres­i­dent a fac­tor for Repub­li­cans. Still, Repub­li­can vot­ers tended to be over­whelm­ingly sup­port­ive of the pres­i­dent.

Faced with 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 racially charged ap­peals and the strength of the coali­tion that pow­ered him to the White House — a group he will need again in just two years.

San­ders said can­di­dates who wel­comed Trump did bet­ter at the polls.

“Most of the can­di­dates that the pres­i­dent ac­tu­ally went in and cam­paigned for and who em­brace the pres­i­dent are do­ing well tonight,” she said.

Still, about one-third of vot­ers said Trump was not a fac­tor in their votes.

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