Trump melts down after midterms, lashes out at Republicans for losing the House

The president also angrily threatened Democrats, warning that he would investigate the House of Representatives

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published November 7, 2018 1:35PM (EST)

 (Getty/Mandel Ngan)
(Getty/Mandel Ngan)

President Donald Trump's post-midterms response reveals tremendous fear beneath outburst of braggadocio. Trump's Wednesday's tweets and press conference were mostly boastful but also bizarrely included the heckling of losing candidates in his own party.

After boasting about how nine of the 11 candidates for which he campaigned over the last week had won in the election, claiming to have stopped the "blue wave" which many had predicted would benefit Democrats, Trump then singled out Republican representatives who lost and who he claimed would have won had they embraced his possible support, including Reps. Mike Coffman of Colorado, Barbara Comstock of Virginia and Peter Roskam of Illinois. The president even cracked a joke at the expense of a fallen Republican, Rep. Mia Love of Utah.

She "gave me no love and she lost. Too bad! Sorry about that Mia!" Trump quipped.

One congressman singled out by Trump, Rep. Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania, quickly tweeted his disdain for the president's behavior.

Trump also crowed about how the Republican Party gained Senate seats in the midterm elections on Tuesday night.

But while it is true that incumbent presidents rarely make gains in Congress during a midterm election year, two of the three times that it happened over the last century occurred within the previous twenty years — once in 1998, when Americans weary of Republican efforts to impeach President Bill Clinton decided to punish Republican legislators as a result, and again in 2002, when President George W. Bush was benefiting from the acclaim he received in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks a little more than a year earlier.

It is also worth noting that the president's party has not lost seats in the House of Representatives in only three elections since the Civil War — and aside from 1998 and 2002, the previous one was in 1934 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt benefited from the popularity of his progressive New Deal legislation.

In other words, it is notable that Trump's Republican Party managed to gain seats in the Senate, just as it is notable that he won the 2016 presidential election without winning the popular vote. That was also an event that had occurred rarely before the late-20th century (in the elections of 1824, 1876 and 1888) but more regularly within the last twenty years (in 2000 and 2016).

While the president may not know all of this history, or at least struggle to put it in the proper context, he clearly feels rattled by the fact that Democrats are now going to control the House of Representatives. This is evident from his later tweets on Wednesday morning.

During a White House press conference, Trump also reiterated the message of his earlier tweet about potentially investigating Democrats by saying that he would refuse to work with them if he was investigated, considering that to be a "warlike" stance.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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2018 Midterm Elections Donald Trump Nancy Pelosi Ron Desantis