WASHINGTON: An upbeat President Donald Trump on Wednesday promised a post-elections era of “love” in Washington, saying he can work with opposition Democrats in a newly divided Congress, yet warning the gloves could come back off at any time.
In a first indication of how confident he feels after Tuesday’s legislative polls, Trump fired his attorney general, immediately raising questions over the integrity of a bombshell probe into whether Russia colluded with his 2016 presidential election campaign.
But on the day after his Republicans lost the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years – while tightening their grip on the Senate – Trump focused his main message on unity.
“The election is over, everybody is in love,” he told a freewheeling press conference at the White House.
Trump cast the result as a victory, especially for himself, saying that his personal interventions in the midterm campaign had saved numerous Republicans from defeat, while those who “didn’t want the embrace” failed.
At the same time, he was eager to project a softer image after having been widely accused of going too far with attacks on “evil” political opponents and a never materialising “invasion” of illegal immigrants.
Trump said he “would love to have a very even, modest, boring tone.”
And he predicted that the Republicans’ loss of the House to the Democrats would actually encourage cooperation in Washington, rather than herald complete gridlock.“I would love to see unity, peace, love, and any other word you want to use,” he said. “Obviously I think that we had to… wait until the midterms were over. Now they are.”
“It really could be a beautiful bipartisan type of situation.”
Trump’s peace overture to the same Democrats he has spent the last weeks vilifying came after the likely new speaker in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, also reached out.
“A Democratic Congress will work for solutions that bring us together, because we have all had enough of division,” said Pelosi.
Adding to the good vibes was Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, who painted the upper house as “a pretty collegial place.”
“Even though we had big differences over things like taxes and judges, there were plenty of other things we did together and no reason that would stop simply because the House now becomes Democratic,” he said. – AFP