WHITE HOUSE - At a combative, lengthy news conference Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump congratulated himself for achieving what he termed a “tremendous success” in the previous day’s midterm elections.
“History will see what a good job we did in getting people over the finish line,” Trump said, noting that nine of the 11 candidates for whom he campaigned in the past week were victorious.
Earlier Wednesday, he had tweeted:
To any of the pundits or talking heads that do not give us proper credit for this great Midterm Election, just remember two words - FAKE NEWS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2018
While the Republicans comfortably kept their majority in the Senate, the Democrats wrested away enough seats to take control of the House of Representatives. That means, come January, the gavels for key congressional committees will pass from Republican legislators to Democrats, who are certain in a target-rich environment to issue subpoenas and hold hearings on matters ranging from alleged collusion between Russia and Trump’s 2016 election campaign to questionable spending on travel by members of the president’s Cabinet.
WATCH: Trump Declares Victory After Midterm Losses in the House
Trump also vowed a “warlike posture” if the Democrats pursue such investigations.
“They can play that game, but we can play better because we have a thing called the United States Senate and a lot of questionable things were done between leaks of classified information and many other elements that should not have taken place,” Trump said during the nearly 90-minute session with reporters in the White House East Room.
The president expressed hope that he and his fellow Republicans in Congress could work on legislation across party lines.
“Now we have a much easier path because the Democrats will come to us with a plan for infrastructure, a plan for health care, a plan for whatever they’re looking at and we’ll negotiate,” Trump said.
He portrayed his party’s retention of the Senate and picking up gubernatorial seats in key states as victories by an outgunned underdog.
“We did this in spite of a very dramatic fundraising disadvantage driven by Democrats’ wealthy donors, and special interests, and a very hostile media coverage, to put it lightly,” he said.
During the news conference, Trump sparred with White House correspondents when they posed questions he did not like. Some interrupted his remarks, pressed forward with unwelcome follow-up questions or shouted queries even though he had not called on them.
Although Trump has regularly insulted reporters, his remarks Wednesday reached a fresh nadir.
Journalists repeatedly were ordered to desist and accused of asking racist and insulting questions. The president also ordered microphones taken away from those he no longer wanted to hear from.
President Trump to Jim @Acosta: "You should let me run the country. You run CNN.""That%27s enough. Put down the mic. CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude terrible person." pic.twitter.com/GR9TIbKUok— CSPAN (@cspan) November 7, 2018
CNN’s Jim Acosta was repeatedly admonished by Trump as a rude person who should not be working for the network and accused of treating White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and others in a horrible manner.
“When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you’re the enemy of the people,” the president told Acosta.
Later Wednesday, Acosta’s permanent press credentials for White House entry, known as a hard pass, were pulled.
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.— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 8, 2018
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. Only they would attack the President for not supporting a free press in the midst of him taking 68 questions from 35 different reporters...— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 8, 2018
As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice.— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 8, 2018
CNN, subsequently, issued a statement defending its chief White House correspondent, accusing Sanders of lying about the incident.
“She provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened,” said the network. “This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better. Jim Acosta has our full support.”
Acosta is also receiving support from the White House Correspondents’ Association, which says it “strongly objects to the Trump administration’s decision to use U.S. Secret Service security credentials as a tool to punish a reporter with whom it has a difficult relationship.”
In a statement issued Wednesday night, the correspondents’ association said “revoking access to the White House complex is a reaction out of line to the purported offense and is unacceptable.”
It is urging the White House to immediately reverse what it calls “this weak and misguided action.”
Anyone having doubts that the White House reaction “was disproportionate to the perceived offense to view the video of the events from earlier today,” the WHCA statement concludes.