De­fi­ant Trump blames me­dia for losses


WASH­ING­TON (Reuters) – The day af­ter his party lost its lock on the US Congress, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump walked into a White House press con­fer­ence ready for po­lit­i­cal com­bat, name-check­ing Repub­li­cans who he blamed for los­ing their seats and lash­ing out at re­porters who chal­lenged his as­ser­tions.

Trump briefly sought to strike a states­man­like tone in his first pub­lic re­marks af­ter the loss, prais­ing House Demo­cratic leader Nancy Pelosi for her hard work and en­vi­sion­ing “a beau­ti­ful, bi­par­ti­san type of sit­u­a­tion” on in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ments and health care.

But his news con­fer­ence, which stretched close to 90 min­utes, quickly turned rau­cous when some re­porters pushed him on whether his cam­paign rhetoric on mi­grants from Cen­tral Amer­ica was di­vi­sive – and on de­vel­op­ments in a fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and any co­or­di­na­tion be­tween Moscow and the Trump cam­paign.

Trump ag­gres­sively pushed back.

“CNN should be ashamed of it­self, hav­ing you work­ing for them,” Trump told CNN cor­re­spon­dent Jim Acosta, who wres­tled with a White House staffer who forcibly pulled the mi­cro­phone from his hands.

“You are a rude, ter­ri­ble per­son,” Trump told Acosta.

In a state­ment, White House spokes­woman Sarah San­ders called Acosta’s be­hav­ior “ab­so­lutely un­ac­cept­able” and said his White House press pass would be sus­pended “un­til fur­ther no­tice.”

San­ders ac­cused Acosta of “plac­ing his hands on a young woman just try­ing to do her job as a White House in­tern” and of pre­vent­ing other re­porters from ask­ing ques­tions at the news con­fer­ence.

Acosta said in a tweet late on Wed­nes­day he had been de­nied en­try into the White House by the Se­cret Ser­vice. He called the White House ac­cu­sa­tions “a lie.”

To PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Al­cin­dor, who asked him about white na­tion­al­ists em­bold­ened by Trump la­bel­ing him­self a “na­tion­al­ist,” Trump said he was in­sulted.

“That’s such a racist ques­tion,” said Trump, who has made ac­cu­sa­tions of un­fair cover­age from the me­dia a sta­ple on the cam­paign trail.

He took at a jab at “grand­stand­ing” con­gress­men from his own party whom he said would have made it dif­fi­cult to get leg­is­la­tion through the House, had Repub­li­cans eked out a nar­row win in the cham­ber.

Trump took the rare step of mock­ing Repub­li­can can­di­dates who kept their dis­tance from him dur­ing the cam­paign be­cause of con­cerns that his di­vi­sive mes­sages on im­mi­gra­tion would turn off vot­ers – but lost any­way.

He sin­gled out Peter Roskam of Illi­nois, Erik Paulsen of Min­nesota, John Faso of New York, and New Jersey se­nate can­di­date Bob Hu­gin.

“Car­los Curbelo, Mike Coff­man – too bad, Mike,” he said, re­fer­ring to los­ing Repub­li­can con­gress­men in Florida and Colorado con­tests.

He scorned Utah’s Mia Love and Vir­ginia’s Bar­bara Com­stock. “Mia Love gave me no love,” he said. “And Bar­bara Com­stock was an­other one. I mean, I think she could have won that race, but she didn’t want to have any em­brace.”

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