Trump to candidates that rejected him: ‘Say goodbye!’
President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Republican winners in Tuesday’s midterm elections were successful because they embraced him and his agenda, taunting those losers who distanced themselves from the White House to “say goodbye!”
“Those that worked with me in this incredible Midterm Election, embracing certain policies and principles, did very well,” the president wrote in a tweet. “Those that did not, say goodbye!”
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While midterm elections have historically brought congressional losses for party of the sitting president, Trump loomed especially large over Tuesday’s results. Members of both parties, as well as the president himself, painted the midterms as a referendum on Trump. Turnout for Tuesday’s election was up sharply relative to past midterm races, which typically have lower voter participation than presidential elections.
Some Republicans feared that Trump’s decision to harp on immigration issues in the closing days of the campaign rather than on a booming economy could alienate swing voters in suburban districts. That fear, at least in part, appears to have been borne out in GOP-held districts across the country, where Republican incumbents in and around urban areas were unseated by Democratic challengers.
But while the GOP lost control of the House on Tuesday, the party is on track to strengthen its majority in the Senate. And Republicans won some of the marquee gubernatorial races that Trump campaigned hard for, including Ohio’s and Florida’s.
In the Senate, where Democrats were defending seats in multiple states Trump carried in 2016, candidates were much more likely to embrace the president. In North Dakota, West Virginia and Montana, Democratic incumbents Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin and Jon Tester all campaigned on their independence from their party’s leadership and their willingness to work with the president. Manchin won, but Heitkamp was crushed and Tester’s race remained too close to call as of Wednesday morning.
Gubernatorial candidates Trump campaigned for also did well on Tuesday, with Republican Mike DeWine besting Richard Cordray in Ohio, and Ron DeSantis beating Democrat Andrew Gillum by less than a point in Florida, a tight race that would have been a major pick up for Democrats.
Trump on Wednesday congratulated DeSantis in a tweet for his “great courage in his hard fought campaign to become the Governor of Florida.”
But Trump has claimed that he has the magic touch that can carry a candidate over the finish line before, and it’s not always true.
On Tuesday, West Virginia voters reelected Democratic Manchin, a race Trump campaigned hard in. GOP Rep. Dave Brat, a member of the arch-conservative House Freedom Caucus, was upset in his Richmond-area district while longshot candidate and Trump supporter Corey Stewart lost his bid to unseat Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). Voters in Kansas picked Democrat Laura Kelly over Republican Kris Kobach, an ally of the president who closely aligned with many of his policies, for governor. Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker, a high profile GOP figure who ran for president in 2016, lost reelection despite the president’s vocal support.
In a follow-up tweet, Trump demanded “proper credit” for “this great midterm election” despite the GOP’s losses in the House.
“To any of the pundits or talking heads that do not give us proper credit for this great Midterm Election, just remember two words – FAKE NEWS!” he wrote. “Yesterday was such a very Big Win, and all under the pressure of a Nasty and Hostile Media!” the president added in a second tweet.