WASHINGTON - Nearly halfway through his four-year term in the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump says he thinks of himself in the top rung of American presidents.
"I would give myself an A+," Trump said in an interview with Fox News Sunday. "Can I go higher than that?"
But the U.S. leader, in a White House interview taped Friday and aired Sunday, made a rare acknowledgement of an error in judgment, saying he should have gone last Monday to Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate the country's annual Veterans Day honoring those who have served in the U.S. armed forces or are currently serving in one of its military branches.
"In retrospect, I should have," Trump told interviewer Chris Wallace. The U.S. leader, who has yet to visit U.S. troops in any war zones overseas, also said, "There are things that are being planned. I will be doing that." He declined to say when such a visit might occur because of security concerns.
In the November 6 nationwide congressional and state elections, opposition Democrats took control of the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years and captured key governor's races in industrial states that were vital to Trump's 2016 election as president. National political surveys show Americans disapprove of his White House performance by a 52.9 to 43.3 percent margin, according to an average of polls by Real Clear Politics.
But Trump took no blame for the losses because his name was not on the ballot, even though he told several political rallies ahead of the elections that voters ought to look at the voting that way, as a referendum on his policies and performance during the first 22 months of his presidency.
"I won the Senate and that's historic, too," Trump said. "That's a tremendous victory." Trump's Republican party could add two seats to its current 51-49 majority bloc in the Senate, when two close contests are decided.
Trump said Republicans also "had a tremendous set of victories" by winning governorships in the southern states of Georgia and Florida and the midwestern state of Ohio, even as Democrats won governorships in other electoral battlegrounds, including the key midwestern states of Michigan and Wisconsin that had been held by Republicans.
As for the electoral losses, Trump said, "I didn't run. My name wasn't on the ballot. I had people that wouldn't vote because I wasn't on the ballot."
Trump is already deep in planning for his 2020 re-election bid, while a long list of Democrats are considering whether to seek their party's presidential nomination to oppose him.