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Despite Losing House, Trump Declares ‘Big Victory’

President had mostly stayed out of close House races down the stretch

President Donald Trump is angry with General Motors executives over job cuts in three U.S. states. White House aide Lawrence Kudlow, right, says Trump feels betrayed after pushing for pro-automaker language in a new trade deal. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump is angry with General Motors executives over job cuts in three U.S. states. White House aide Lawrence Kudlow, right, says Trump feels betrayed after pushing for pro-automaker language in a new trade deal. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Updated 8:21 a.m. Even though his party lost control of the House, President Donald Trump declared a “big victory” on Wednesday morning as he focused on Republicans picking up seats in the Senate.

The Associated Press projects the chamber will remain in Republican hands, with a Democratic takeover bid blocked after losses in Indiana and North Dakota. But Democrats, fueled by wins in key suburbs, will control the House come November.

NBC, ABC News and CNN are projecting Democrats would take control of the chamber even as the outcome in a number of competitive races remains unclear.

Trump will hold a news conference at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, his first chance to lay out an agenda for a split government, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced in her own tweet. It also will give him a chance to explain how he will work with Democrats. He has yet to broker a major bipartisan deal.

The president spent the final days and weeks of the midterm cycle mostly campaigning for GOP Senate and gubernatorial candidates in battleground states. Many of those candidates were victorious, allowing Trump to focus his messaging there and declare himself a GOP savior.

[Democrats Take Control of the House With Victories in the Suburbs]

Trump began the morning after the much-anticipated midterms by claiming he has gotten “so many Congratulations from so many on our Big Victory last night, including from foreign nations (friends) that were waiting me out, and hoping, on Trade Deals.”

He has spent much of his turbulent tenure fueling the country’s tribal divides rather than trying to bridge them, and that was the case during midterm campaigning when he daily called Democrats an “angry mob” that wanted “open borders” and Venezuela-like “socialism.”

But, at least for as long as it took to type a tweet, the president struck a different tone on Wednesday, writing: “Now we can all get back to work and get things done!”

The president was pushing his “victory” message hard all Wednesday morning, telling his Twitter followers that “any of the pundits or talking heads that do not give us proper credit for this great Midterm Election” are merely “FAKE NEWS!”

Lawmakers and analysts have pointed to an infrastructure package as the piece of legislation on which there is the most bipartisan agreement, and Trump ran in 2016 on passing a bill to rebuild the country’s roads, airports, tunnels bridges and seaports. But a plan he unveiled last year that called for the project to be funded mostly with private funds received scorn from members of both parties and never gained any traction on Capitol Hill.

[Republicans Maintain Senate Control]

In another tweet, Trump lashed out at Republicans that shied away from his agenda and endorsement.

“Those that worked with me in this incredible Midterm Election, embracing certain policies and principles, did very well,” he wrote. “Those that did not, say goodbye! Yesterday was such a very Big Win, and all under the pressure of a Nasty and Hostile Media!”

Trump’s Senate focus and his party’s expansion of its narrow majority means he and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can keep putting conservatives on federal benches.

But it’s less clear if split government can produce legislative results.

During his final day of campaigning on Monday, Trump was asked how he would handle a Democratic-run House. “We’ll just have to work a little bit differently,” he replied, adding he suspects Democratic lawmakers will want to get a few things done.

But House Democrats come January also will have the power to investigate all aspects of Trump’s presidency — and Russia’s 2016 election meddling. Experts say that could quickly put a damper on any bipartisan cooperation.

Trump showed he is mindful House Democrats likely will use their new powers to look into his presidency.

If House Democrats investigate him, the president tweeted Wednesday morning that he will press Senate Republicans to probe Democrats for alleged leaks of classified information “and much else.” A climate of investigations could quickly poison any well of bipartisan legislative cooperation next year, analysts say.

Watch: Now That That’s Over (Mostly) Roll Call Looks Ahead to 2020

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