IIn his first press conference at the White House after losing the Republican majority to the House of Representatives, Donald Trump pretended that nothing had really happened. He stated on several occasions that the defeat was in fact a victory.
After all, the Republicans would have faced many adversities, against well-endowed "hostile media coverage" and democrats. "We were bombarded with money from the other side," Trump said. Moreover, the conservatives had to struggle with the fact that an extraordinary number of Republican historical operators were no longer available.
Trump tried to overestimate the defeat in the Abgeodnetenhaus, for example, with gains in the Senate. "Last night, we resisted the story," Trump said. This has not happened for a long time, so that the presidential party has won so many seats in the Senate. His predecessor Barack Obama would have lost six senatorial posts in his early midterms, Trump proudly.
His predecessor George W. Bush had, after a defeat in the mid-term elections, even a more self-critical discourse on having obtained from the voter on the cover. Even predecessor Barack Obama had spoken of "bitter defeat" after a defeat by Midterm. Not so Trump. He does not believe that the voters wanted to give him a booklet by handing the House of Representatives into the hands of the Democrats. "I think people like me … They like the way I do things," he said Wednesday.
Trump: leave the battlefield
In the first half-hour of his press conference, America experienced a clearly withdrawn tone of voice, trying to get rid of two important messages.
First, it was not a defeat, and if so, then it's not my fault – Trump was savoring the names of those Republicans who had strayed from him and lost their races.
Secondly, Trump has shaken hands with the Democrats on non-partisan cooperation. He praised Nancy Pelosi, former Senate minority leader, who was still zealously demonized by the Republicans in the election campaign. She has now interpreted Pelosi as a sensible woman with whom she shares many common concerns, such as infrastructure projects or the health system.
"It's time for both sides to abandon the camp fight," Trump said. A bit ironic, given that in the last two years Trump has been instrumental in nurturing the division of the country with his constant attacks against his political adversary.
"It would be a martial act"
Now, however, he made quite new phone calls and went so far as to say that it was better for the Democrats to win the House of Representatives, because it would be easier to reach bipartisan compromises than if the Republicans got only a narrow majority.
At the same time, he warned the Democrats not to use their new majority on the committees to investigate him and his government, and that cooperation and investigation could not be done simultaneously. "It would be a military act," Trump said.
How little can you trust the new conciliatory tones of the president, however, soon became clear after the first questions of journalists. For example, Trump provided stubborn skirmishes with a CNN reporter, who he described as a popular enemy, and others, and banned several interrogators from speaking.
It seemed much more the excitement of the electoral campaign than the post-intermediate relaxation. A reminder that this President feels completely to himself when he is in attack mode. It is therefore difficult for many to imagine that his new willingness to compromise with the Democrats will last a long time, even if he will have to use them if he wants to pursue any legislative proposal in the next two years. And shortly after the press conference, this was immediately put to the test when Trump announced that Jeff Sessions would renounce his ministry of justice – at Trump's request.
Fight for the post of majority leader
So praised by Trump Nancy Pelosi has accepted the flattery of the president in his own press conference because reserved. Trump had said that the undisputed among the Democrats Pelosi earned the job. He replied that he considered himself fit for work not for his past merits, but for what he believed he could achieve in the future and called himself "a good negotiator who could unite the country".
And the 78-year-old was also ready to take Trump's outstretched hand. "We believe it is our responsibility to seek common ground wherever possible," said Pelosi. "And where this is not possible, we must be tough, but at least we have to prove it."
Pelosi was once the majority leader in the House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011, and then led the Democrats as minority leaders after the Republicans took the majority. Several left and moderate Democrats had announced before the election that they would no longer vote for Pelosi as a majority leader in a democratic election victory.
The struggle for the position of majority leader will therefore be a first test for the level of unity that the Democrats will rally and to what extent the democratic leadership will be able to act against Trump.