Trump faces di­vided Congress

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - OBITUARIES/NEWS -

WASH­ING­TON — Sud­denly fac­ing life un­der a di­vided gov­ern­ment, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and con­gres­sional lead­ers talked bi­par­ti­san­ship Wed­nes­day, but then bluntly pre­viewed the fault lines to come. Trump threat­ened to go af­ter House Democrats who try to in­ves­ti­gate him, while Rep. Nancy Pelosi said her party would be “a check and bal­ance” against the White House.

The day af­ter midterm elec­tions re­set Wash­ing­ton, Trump took a vic­tory lap at a rau­cous news con­fer­ence, cel­e­brat­ing Repub­li­can Se­nate wins but dis­tanc­ing him­self from the GOP’s loss of the House. He said he was in­ter­ested in work­ing with House Democrats but was ready to re­spond if he felt he was be­ing ill-treated.

As long as Repub­li­cans have con­trolled both houses of Congress, Democrats have been ham­pered in pur­su­ing any sig­nif­i­cant probes of Trump and his ad­min­is­tra­tion, and he made it clear he ex­pects the Se­nate to fol­low that course.

“They can play that game,” he said of pos­si­ble House Demo­cratic in­ves­ti­ga­tions, “but we can play it bet­ter, be­cause we have a thing called the United States Se­nate.”

On Capi­tol Hill, Repub­li­can Se­nate leader Mitch McCon­nell said Democrats must de­cide how much “ha­rass­ment” they want to pur­sue against Trump, while sug­gest­ing there could be lim­ited op­por­tu­ni­ties to work across the aisle. And Pelosi, who is ex­pected to run for a sec­ond stint as speaker when Democrats take the House ma­jor­ity in Jan­uary, said the party has “a re­spon­si­bil­ity to seek com­mon ground where we can.” But she added, “Where we can­not, we must stand our ground.”

Af­ter midterm elec­tions that served as a ref­er­en­dum on Trump’s di­vi­sive pres­i­dency, Congress and the White House reck­oned Wed­nes­day with ex­pected Repub­li­can gains in the Se­nate and a Demo­cratic flip of the House. The early po­si­tion­ing pro­vided the first glimpse of how all par­ties will bal­ance calls for bi­par­ti­san­ship with an ap­petite for anger go­ing into the next two years.

By turns com­bat­ive and con­cil­ia­tory, Trump said Democrats and Repub­li­cans should set aside par­ti­san­ship to work to­gether. On leg­isla­tive prospects, Trump said he could po­ten­tially work with Democrats on is­sues such as taxes, in­fra­struc­ture and health care, say­ing it “re­ally could be a beau­ti­ful, bi­par­ti­san type of sit­u­a­tion.”

Evan Vucci / As­so­ci­ated Press

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump speaks dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in the East Room of the White House on Wed­nes­day.

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