At a combative, lengthy news conference Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump congratulated himself for achieving what he termed a “tremendous success” in the previous day’s midterm elections.
“History will see what a good job we did in getting people over the finish line,” Trump said, noting that nine of the 11 candidates for whom he campaigned in the last week were victorious.
Earlier Wednesday, he had tweeted:
While the Republicans comfortably kept their majority in the Senate, the Democrats wrested away enough seats to take control of the House of Representatives. That means, come January, the gavels for key congressional committees will pass from Republican legislators to Democrats, who are certain in a target-rich environment to issue subpoenas and hold hearings on matters ranging from alleged collusion between Russia and Trump’s 2016 election campaign to questionable spending on travel by members of the president’s Cabinet.
Trump vowed a “warlike posture” if the Democrats pursued such investigations.
“They can play that game, but we can play better because we have a thing called the United States Senate, and a lot of questionable things were done between leaks of classified information and many other elements that should not have taken place,” Trump said during the nearly 90-minute session with reporters in the White House East Room.
The president expressed hope that he and his fellow Republicans in Congress could work on legislation across party lines.
“Now we have a much easier path because the Democrats will come to us with a plan for infrastructure, a plan for health care, a plan for whatever they’re looking at and we’ll negotiate,” said Trump.
Trump portrayed his party’s retention of the Senate majority and addition of gubernatorial seats in key states as victories by an outgunned underdog.
“We did this in spite of a very dramatic fundraising disadvantage driven by Democrats’ wealthy donors, and special interests, and a very hostile media coverage, to put it lightly,” he said.
During the news conference, Trump sparred with White House correspondents when they posed questions he did not like. Some interrupted his remarks, pressed forward with unwelcome follow-up questions or shouted queries even though he had not called on them.
Although Trump has regularly insulted reporters, his remarks Wednesday reached a fresh nadir. Journalists repeatedly were ordered to desist and were accused of asking racist and insulting questions. The president also ordered microphones taken away from those he no longer wanted to hear from.
CNN’s Jim Acosta was repeatedly admonished by Trump as a rude person who should not be working for the network, and he was accused of treating White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and others in a horrible manner.
“When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you’re the enemy of the people,” the president told Acosta.
The White House Correspondents’ Association declined immediate comment.