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Donald Trump has described the midterms as being “very close to a complete victory”, following a mixed night for his party – which he portrayed in epic terms.
Republicans increased their seats in the Senate – they now have 51 seats out of 100, after Democrats’ dreams of the Senate majority, always unlikely, were shattered by losses in key battlegrounds: Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, North Dakota and Texas.
But they lost control of the House of Representatives, meaning that Mr Trump’s legislative agenda will likely be thwarted, and his policies face far greater scrutiny.
In an astonishingly combative 90 minute press conference the president delighted in the defeat of candidates from his own party, who had distanced themselves from him.
He singled out Carlos Curbelo, a moderate Republican from Florida, and Mia Love, a Republican from Utah.
“Mia Love gave me no love, then she lost,” he said. “Sorry about that Mia. Too bad.”
The president praised his own leadership, saying his gaining seats in the Senate had been historic, and a feat not achieved since John F Kennedy in the 1960s.
Asked about the violence that preceded the election, with the pipe bombing campaign and the Pittsburg shooting, he was unrepentant, saying: “I am a great moral leader.”
He angrily denied questions asking whether his embrace of nationalism had emboldened white nationalists, and he sparred repeatedly with reporters, who ganged together to defend each other in the face of Mr Trump’s insults.
One CNN reporter was told he was “a disgrace to your network”, and an African American reporter for PBS was told her question was “racist” and “insulting”.
Amid all the hostility, however, he did hold out an olive branch to the Democrats who now control the House, saying that he felt they could work together.
He heaped praise on Nancy Pelosi, tipped to be the Speaker of the House, and said the results were positive for the United States.
“Now is the time to put partisanship aside,” he said.
“And we should come together to celebrate the American economic miracle – because it is a miracle.”
Asked what he had learnt from the midterms, he replied: “I think people like me. I think people like the job I’m doing, frankly.”