The Republicans held on to the Senate and narrowly survived a number of big individual races, including in Florida. The Democrats now control the lower house for the first time in eight years.
“Tremendous success tonight,” the president tweeted. “Thank you to all!”
Tremendous success tonight. Thank you to all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1541564079000
Trump waited until late in the night to weigh in on the midterm vote, tweeting a succinct message that overlooked expected Democratic gains in the House, writing: “Tremendous success tonight. Thank you to all!”
With results still coming in, Republicans had a chance to increase their majority in the Senate. Democrats were gaining speed in their quest for the House, which would give them the ability to launch investigations into the president and stymie his agenda.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders minimized likely Democratic gains.
“Maybe you get a ripple, but I certainly don’t think that there’s a blue wave,” she told reporters, pointing to several early Republican wins.
As for Republicans retaining control of the Senate, she called it “a huge moment and victory for the president.”
The White House has been stressing the historical headwinds it faced: In the last three decades, 2002 was the only midterm election when the party holding the White House gained Senate seats. And only twice in the past eight decades has the president’s party picked up House seats in the midterms.
Trump spent election night watching returns with family and friends at the White House, his shadow looming large over the results.
Opposition to Trump proved to be more a motivating factor for Democrats than support for the president a factor for Republicans. Still, Republican voters tended to be overwhelmingly supportive of the president.
Faced with the possibility of keeping the Senate but losing the House, aides in recent days had laid out the political reality to Trump, who could face an onslaught of Democratic-run investigations. In turn, Trump began trying out defensive arguments ahead of Election Day, noting that midterm losses are typical for the party in the White House, pointing out a high number of GOP retirements and stressing that he had kept his focus on the Senate.