Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives to Democrats, but Trump shrugged that off.
During a raucous news conference that lasted close to 90 minutes, he cast Tuesday’s congressional election results as “very close to complete victory” for Republicans and said he could negotiate easier on some issues with Democrats, anyway.
Some reporters pushed him on whether his campaign rhetoric on migrants from central America was divisive – and on developments in a federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election..
Trump aggressively pushed back.
“CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them,” Trump told CNN correspondent Jim Acosta.
“You are a rude, terrible person.”
A White House staffer grabbed and pulled the microphone while Acosta held it in his hands.
Acosta later posted to Twitter that he had been denied entrance to the White House grounds.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said they had suspended Acosta’s hard pass “until further notice”.
“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration,” she said in a statement.
“We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable.
“It is also completely disrespectful to the reporter’s colleagues not to allow them an opportunity to ask a question. President Trump has given the press more access than any President in history.
“Contrary to CNN’s assertions, there is no greater demonstration of the President’s support for a free press than the event he held today.”
Acosta responded to Sanders’ claim by tweeting, “This is a lie.”
At the earlier press conference, Trump also had conflict with PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor, who asked him about white nationalists being emboldened by Trump labelling himself a “nationalist”.
Trump said he was insulted.
“That’s such a racist question,” Trump said.
Trump took the rare step of mocking Republican candidates who kept their distance from him during the campaign because of concerns that his divisive messages on immigration would turn off voters.
“Carlos Curbelo, Mike Coffman – too bad, Mike,” he said, referring to losing Republican congressmen in Florida and Colorado contests.
Trump scorned Utah’s Mia Love and Virginia’s Barbara Comstock.
“Mia Love gave me no love,” he said.
“And Barbara Comstock was another one. I mean, I think she could have won that race, but she didn’t want to have any embrace.”
Trump also warned Democrats against using their new political power to investigate him.
Some House Democrats have threatened to use the subpoena power they will gain in January to investigate Trump and his administration’s actions.
The president warned he will respond in kind and government will suffer, plus, he said, Democrats have “nothing, zero” on him.
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