Trump de­fi­ant as par­ti­san war­fare looms af­ter vote

Kuwait Times - - Front Page -

WASH­ING­TON: A de­fi­ant Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump yes­ter­day shrugged off the loss of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives as Wash­ing­ton braced for the prospects of par­ti­san war­fare af­ter US vot­ers de­liv­ered a split ver­dict in a hard-fought midterm elec­tion. With Democrats promis­ing ag­gres­sive probes of Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion and his per­sonal fi­nances af­ter win­ning the House, the pres­i­dent went on the of­fen­sive. “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 said on Twit­ter. “Two can play that game!”

Trump also lashed out at the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller into whether his 2016 elec­tion cam­paign col­luded with Rus­sia to help

him win the White House, brand­ing it a “dis­gust­ing Witch Hunt”. Democrats won the House on Tues­day but Repub­li­cans in­creased their ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate in an elec­tion which re­vealed a coun­try still sharply di­vided along party lines. Ac­cord­ing to pro­jec­tions by The New York Times, Democrats will have 229 seats in the 435mem­ber House while Repub­li­cans will hold 53 seats in the 100-mem­ber Se­nate, up from 51.

Repub­li­cans de­feated Demo­cratic se­na­tors in sev­eral states won by Trump in 2016 - Flor­ida, In­di­ana, Mis­souri and North Dakota. Repub­li­can se­nate can­di­dates were also lead­ing in Ari­zona and Mon­tana. Democrats ap­pear to have won a Repub­li­can se­nate seat in Ne­vada. Democrats also picked up seven gov­er­nor­ships but fell short in a high-pro­file race for the gov­er­nor’s man­sion in Flor­ida, ex­pected to play a key role in the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

With the House vic­tory, Democrats will take over com­mit­tees, giv­ing them the power to hold hear­ings, call wit­nesses and is­sue sub­poe­nas to ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials. “We will con­duct the in­ves­ti­ga­tions that Repub­li­cans wouldn’t con­duct,” Demo­cratic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Eric Swal­well of Cal­i­for­nia said on NBC’s “To­day” show. “We’ll fill in the gaps on the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tions,” he said of the Mueller probe. “Amer­i­can peo­ple will see (Trump’s) tax re­turns.”

“There will be in­ten­si­fied fight­ing,” said Larry Sa­bato, direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Pol­i­tics at the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia. “There is now a veto in the sys­tem to limit Trump and the Se­nate - though Trump will use ex­ec­u­tive or­ders to by­pass Congress,” Sa­bato said. Se­nate ma­jor­ity leader Mitch McCon­nell said he ex­pected the pres­i­dent would be able to work with a di­vided Congress. “The Se­nate is a pretty col­le­gial place and even though we had big dif­fer­ences over things like taxes and judges, there were plenty of other things we did to­gether and no rea­son that would stop sim­ply be­cause the House now be­comes Demo­cratic,” he said. “We’re cer­tainly go­ing to try to help the pres­i­dent achieve what he would like with the (US-Mex­ico) wall,” McCon­nell said.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Nancy Pelosi, who is likely to re­turn as speaker of the House de­spite op­po­si­tion from some cen­trist Democrats, promised that the party will serve as a coun­ter­weight - but also work with Trump. “To­day is more than about Democrats and Repub­li­cans. It’s about restor­ing the con­sti­tu­tion’s checks and bal­ances to the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion,” Pelosi said. But she added: “A Demo­cratic Congress will work for so­lu­tions that bring us to­gether, be­cause we have all had enough of di­vi­sion.”

Trump spoke to Pelosi fol­low­ing the elec­tion, Con­way said, and ap­peared to ex­tend an olive branch to her yes­ter­day morn­ing. “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!”

Trump, who will face re­elec­tion in 2020, was sched­uled to hold a press con­fer­ence to dis­cuss an elec­tion that he de­scribed on Twit­ter as a “tremen­dous suc­cess” and a “Big Vic­tory”. “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!” he said on Twit­ter.

Like in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, ru­ral ar­eas went heav­ily for Repub­li­cans while ur­ban ar­eas broke to­wards the Democrats. More women than men voted for Democrats, ac­cord­ing to exit polls, par­tic­u­larly white sub­ur­ban women, and the new House will fea­ture a record num­ber of women law­mak­ers. Tues­day’s con­test saw sev­eral his­toric firsts in the Demo­cratic camp: in Kansas, Sharice Davids and Deb Haa­land be­came the first Na­tive Amer­i­can women elected to Congress. And in the Mid­west, one­time So­mali refugee Il­han Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the daugh­ter of Pales­tinian im­mi­grants, shared the his­toric dis­tinc­tion of be­com­ing the first two Mus­lim women elected to Congress.

But the rosiest ex­pec­ta­tions of some Democrats that they could cre­ate a “blue wave” even when play­ing de­fense on the Se­nate map - proved un­founded. In one of the most closely-watched races, Demo­cratic Se­nate can­di­date Beto O’Rourke, a charis­matic con­gress­man and for­mer punk rocker, fell short against Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz in Texas. Trump cam­paigned ag­gres­sively in the clos­ing days on a hard­line anti-im­mi­gra­tion mes­sage. He seized on scenes of a car­a­van of Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants head­ing for the United States and sent sol­diers to the Mex­i­can bor­der, threat­en­ing to have il­le­gal im­mi­grants shot if they throw stones. — AFP


WASH­ING­TON: House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ben Ray Lu­jan, Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee Chair­man, cel­e­brate a pro­jected Demo­cratic Party takeover of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives dur­ing a midterm elec­tion night party on Tues­day. (See Page 7)

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