Trump, Pelosi talk about getting along in new House alignment — until they don’t

WASHINGTON (AP) — Suddenly facing life under divided government, President Donald Trump and congressional leaders talked bipartisanship but then bluntly previewed the fault lines to come. Trump threatened to go after House Democrats who try to investigate him, while Rep. Nancy Pelosi said her party would be “a check and balance” against the White House.

The day after midterm elections reset Washington, Trump took a victory lap at a raucous news conference, celebrating Republican Senate wins but distancing himself from the GOP’s loss of the House. He said Wednesday he was interested in working with House Democrats but was ready to respond if he felt he was being ill-treated.

As long as Republicans have controlled both houses of Congress, Democrats have been hampered in pursuing any significant probes of Trump and his administration, and he made it clear he expects the Senate to follow that course.

“They can play that game,” he said of possible House Democratic investigations, “but we can play it better, because we have a thing called the United States Senate.”

On Capitol Hill, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said Democrats must decide how much “harassment” they want to pursue against Trump, while suggesting there could be limited opportunities to work across the aisle. And Pelosi, who is expected to run for a second stint as speaker when Democrats take the House majority in January, said the party has “a responsibility to seek common ground where we can.” But she added, “Where we cannot, we must stand our ground.”

After midterm elections that served as a referendum on Trump’s divisive presidency, Congress and the White House reckoned Wednesday with expected Republican gains in the Senate and a Democratic flip of the House. The early positioning provided the first glimpse of how all parties will balance calls for bipartisanship with an appetite for anger going into the next two years.

COMMENTS