President appeals to Democrats in house
WASHINGTON: Donald Trump has called for a new bipartisan era with Democrats in congress but warned that he would revert to a “warlike posture” if they launched investigations against him.
In his first expansive comments after the mid-term elections, the President threatened to hit Democrats with tit-for-tat investigations by the Republican-controlled Senate if they tried to start investigations into him in the new Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
His comments came a day after Democrats won the house for the first time since they lost it in 2010, while the Republicans increased their majority in the Senate.
Mr Trump described the midterm election results as a “close to complete victory” for Republicans despite losing control of the house. “This has been an incredible successful outcome,” he said.
Republicans had defied history by increasing their majority in the Senate and their loss of about 28 seats in the house was “signifi- cantly” better than expectations.
In an often combative press conference, Mr Trump hoped for a “beautiful bipartisan situation” with the new house, including its likely speaker, Nancy Pelosi.
He wanted to negotiate with Ms Pelosi and her leadership team to rebuild infrastructure, lower the costs of prescription drugs and refashion trade policy.
“I give her a great deal of credit for what she’s done,” he said of the Democrat leader who has been one of his favourite targets.
“Hopefully we can all work together to keep on delivering for the American people.
“Now we have a much easier path because the Democrats will come to us with a plan for infra- structure, a plan for healthcare, a plan for whatever they’re looking at, and we’ll negotiate.”
He warned that negotiations — and government — could grind to a halt if Democrats in the house chose to use their majority to launch investigations into him.
“All you are going to do is end up back and forth for two years … nothing will get done,” he said.
If Democrats chose to investigate him, he said, the Republicancontrolled Senate would retaliate with its own investigations.
“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 Classi- fied Information, and much else, at the Senate level,” Trump tweeted. “Two can play that game!”
Speaking later, he said: “I could see it being extremely good for me politically because I think I’m better at that game than they are, actually, but we’ll find out.”
But Ms Pelosi warned that the Democrats would not be deterred from investigating Republicans or the President if necessary. “We have a constitutional responsibility to have oversight, that’s the balance of power … and that’s the path we will go down,” she said.
She said the Democrats would ensure that the President did not have “unchecked power” in Washington and that congress was not a “rubber stamp” for Mr Trump.
But Ms Pelosi said she also wanted a bipartisan relationship with Mr Trump, noting that she had enjoyed a good relationship with Republican president George W. Bush. “We will strive for bipartisanship … we believe we have a responsibility to seek common ground when we can,” she said.
Mr Trump claimed his “vigorous campaigning stopped the blue wave”, allowing Republicans to increase their control of the Senate and limiting their losses in the house. “We did this in spite of a very dramatic fundraising disadvantage driven by Democrats’ wealthy donors and special interest and very hostile media coverage, to put it mildly,” he said.