Democrats Appear Poised to Take Control of House, Trump Acknowledges

President on split government: ‘I’ll just figure it out’

President Donald Trump greets Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., after addressing a joint session of Congress in the Capitol’s House chamber in February 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
President Donald Trump greets Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., after addressing a joint session of Congress in the Capitol’s House chamber in February 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted November 2, 2018 at 5:12pm

President Donald Trump acknowledged at a Friday rally in West Virginia that Democrats appear poised to take control of the House.

“Could happen, could happen … Don’t worry about it,” he said. “I’ll just figure it out,” he added, saying that is how he has operated when problems arise “my whole life.”

The crowd, which wasted little time yelling some of the chants that have come to define his tallies, groaned.

“You have to go out on Tuesday and vote,” he said.

A Democratic-controlled House would end GOP hopes for a second tax overhaul bill and other agenda items. The most bipartisan consensus is around an infrastructure package, but House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California on Oct. 22 expressed doubts both sides — and Trump — can agree on a final bill.

Trump showed early he spent part of Friday watching cable news networks. For instance, anchors on CNN in a late-morning bloc called the economy’s health stellar and wondered aloud why the president does not spend more time talking about that at his rallies.

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He mocked the coverage but took the advice, ticking off a list of statistics about the health of the U.S. economy.

“The economy is unbelievable,” he said. Earlier in the day, Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama, tweeted this: “I’m not seeing anything bad in this jobs report.”

By about the 25-minute mark of a final-days rally at a Huntington, West Virginia airport, Trump moved to immigration, the cornerstone of his closing argument. He warned of “gang members” within groups of Central American migrants moving toward the United States. The effort was meant to help state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey oust incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III.

Inside Elections with Nathan Gonzales rates the race Tilt Democratic. Several polls give Manchin at least 5 percentage-point lead, with a WSAZ-TV survey showing him up by 16.

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Manchin’s vote for controversial Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, experts say, might be enough to keep that seat blue. But Trump has been there several times and still views Manchin as vulnerable. Trump publicly speaks as warmly about Manchin as he does any congressional Democrat, saying he likes the former Mountain State governor but noting he rarely votes with Republicans.

Morrisey took the mic and vowed to be a “staunch ally” of Trump’s if elected. He thanked the president “for everything you’ve done for West Virginia,” saying he has been “huge for this state.”

The president said Manchin “was all for Hillary [Clinton]” during the 2016 election, saying “she was against coal.” The coal-state voters then broke into the familiar “lock her up” chant. Trump chuckled.

He teased Morrisey that if he should win and “vote against us,” the president would return to West Virginia and say, “Let’s impeach him.” Trump laughed. “Patrick would never do that.”

Trump told the audience he watched Obama’s rally in Miami, saying he addressed a “very small crowd.” The 44th president told the Sunshine State crowd to vote out politicians who lie.

But Trump accused Obama of “lying 28 times” about keeping one’s doctor under the 2010 health care law. He also criticized Obama for being tougher on the media, noting Obama’s Justice Department investigated journalists.

Trump is in the third day of a final six-day midterm barnstorming push that will take him to eight battleground states, jetting all over the country from Florida to Montana. He has made immigration the foundation of his closing pitch to voters during this tour.

In recent weeks, he told reporters he sees the issue as a winning one for his party. He ratcheted up his rhetoric this week about two Central American migrant caravans approaching the U.S.-Mexico border, saying they contain dangerous criminals — his campaign issued an ad depicting some migrants as cop-killers. He warned the migrants to avoid throwing rocks at U.S. border security and military personnel, saying they will treat projectile stones as “firearms.”

Trump has used his final push to describe the midterms as a “choice between jobs and mobs,” saying repeatedly Democrats have gone “crazy.”

Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.