Trump welcomes Republican gains, even as Democrats take the House
Democrats will control House for first time in eight years while Republicans consolidate hold on Senate
Washington — US President Donald Trump on Wednesday portrayed the midterm election results as "an incredible day" for his Republicans despite a Democratic takeover of the US House of Representatives that will lead to greater restraints on his administration.
At a White House news conference, Trump argued that Republicans beat historical odds in Tuesday's elections, saying the party's gains in the US senate outweighed its loss of the House.
He also mocked those Republican candidates who lost their seats after refusing to embrace him on the campaign trail, such as US Representative Barbara Comstock of Virginia.
"It was a big day on Tuesday, an incredible day," he said in what was only his third formal solo news conference at the White House. "Last night the R party defied history to expand our senate majority while significantly beating expectations in the House."
Republicans expanded their control of the US senate, knocking off at least three Democratic incumbents on Tuesday, following a divisive campaign marked by fierce clashes over race and immigration.
But they lost their majority in the House, a setback for the president after a campaign that became a referendum on his combative leadership.
The divided power in Congress combined with Trump's expansive view of executive power could herald even deeper political polarisation and legislative gridlock in Washington.
The Democrats will now head House committees that can investigate the president's tax returns, possible business conflicts of interest and any links between his 2016 election campaign and Russia.
There may be some room, however, for Trump and Democrats to work together on issues with bipartisan support such as a package to improve infrastructure or protections against prescription drug price increases.
"It really could be a beautiful bipartisan situation," Trump said.
In all fairness, Nancy Pelosi deserves to be chosen Speaker of the House by the Democrats. If they give her a hard time, perhaps we will add some Republican votes. She has earned this great honor!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2018
He said Nancy Pelosi, who may be the next speaker of the House, had expressed to him in a phone call a desire to work together. But Trump doubted there would be much common ground if Democrats press investigations.
"You can't do it simultaneously," he said.