Trump claims midterm win despite House loss, then threatens backlash for Democratic investigators

  • President Donald Trump celebrates a "Big Victory" even though his party saw mixed results.
  • With Democrats set to take a House majority, his presidency faces its most peril yet.
  • The president signals optimism on striking trade deals.
President Donald Trump waves prior to departing on a trip to Wisconsin from the White House in Washington, October 24, 2018.
Cathal McNaughton | Reuters
President Donald Trump waves prior to departing on a trip to Wisconsin from the White House in Washington, October 24, 2018.

President Donald Trump declared victory on the morning after the midterm election, even though his Republican Party saw mixed results that bring the most peril he has ever faced in his political career.

Democrats won back a House majority in Tuesday's elections, giving the party critical power to investigate the president and his Cabinet members, according to NBC News projections. At the same time, according to NBC, the GOP gained seats in the Senate, assuring split control of government and the necessity for at least some bipartisan cooperation.

In a tweet Wednesday morning, the president said he "received 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 added: "Now we can get back to work and get things done!"

It's unclear what countries he was referring to, but the Trump administration has tried to strike trade deals with China and the European Union. It was also not immediately apparent whether he was signaling a hope to work with Democrats, whom he falsely attacked as dangerous socialists in recent weeks ahead of the midterms.

In a subsequent tweet, he claimed that "those that worked with me in this incredible Midterm Election, embracing certain policies and principles, did very well" while those who did not can "say goodbye!" Trump endorsed numerous candidates across the House and Senate battlefields this year, but those individuals saw mixed results on Tuesday. Some members of Congress who embraced the president and almost always voted with him still lost their seats.

Later, he took another jab at his one of his favorite targets, the news media.

Democrats will mount opposition to many pieces of Trump's agenda, including efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and to cut regulations and taxes.

Many populist Democrats have aligned with at least some of the president's trade proposals, which could drive his optimism about reaching agreements. Bipartisan lawmakers have joined with Trump in calling for new deals that will better protect American workers and punish countries such as China for alleged unfair practices.

However, Republicans and Democrats alike have criticized the president for a mounting exchange of tariffs with Beijing that has threatened to damage the U.S. economy. The White House has already slapped tariffs on more than $200 billion in Chinese goods,and could levy duties on an additional $257 billion in imports.

Outside of trade, the president could seek to find common ground with Democrats on issues such as immigration, drug prices and infrastructure. Still, they have failed to reach a consensus on those policy areas so far during Trump's presidency.

And then there's the question of how vigorously House Democrats led by Trump nemesis Nancy Pelosi will pursue investigations of the president and members of his administration. The president tried to deter Democrats on Wednesday morning, contending that his administration "will likewise be forced to consider investigating them" for what he claims are "leaks of Classified Information, and much else at the Senate level" if House panels probe his conduct.

He threatened: "Two can play that game!"

Stay tuned.