WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday struck a bipartisan tone of unity with Democrats who won control of the House, while also threatening a “warlike posture” that would halt government if they use their new power to investigate him.
"The election is over," Trump said. "... I think we had a tremendous success and hopefully the tone can get better."
He praised House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who could be the next House speaker, and said he could find common ground with House Democrats on issues of infrastructure, health care, immigration and trade policy.
“From a dealmaking standpoint, we are all much better off the way it turned out,” Trump said of Democrats winning the majority of seats in the House.
But he also said of Democrats: "Almost from the time I announced I was going to run, they've been giving me investigation fatigue."
While Trump said he and Pelosi (D-Calif.) can "get a lot done," he pledged to retaliate if House Democrats used their subpoena power to launch any investigations, including of his tax returns.
“They can play that game, but we can play it better because we have the United States Senate,” he said, referring to the expanded GOP majority in that chamber.
After his formal remarks at a news conference Wednesday, Trump turned combative when reporters asked about his taxes, special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, possible voter suppression in states such as Georgia, and his own rhetoric at rallies in which he calls himself “a nationalist.”
At one point, Trump threw his hands up, walking away from the podium, in a confrontation with CNN reporter Jim Acosta.
Acosta had asked about the migrant caravan and the Russia investigation. During the exchange, Acosta stood in the front of the room as a White House press employee tried to grab the microphone from him.
“That’s enough. Put down the mic,” Trump told Acosta.
“Mr. President, are you worried about indictments coming down in this investigation?" Costa continued.
Trump replied: “I’ll tell you what: CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN.”
In a statement late Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Acosta's press credentials for access to the White House had been suspended "until further notice."
During the news conference, Trump repeatedly told reporters to “sit down” or “stop talking” during several heated moments in the East Room.
In one exchange, PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor began asking Trump: “On the campaign trail, you called yourself a nationalist. Some people saw that as emboldening white nationalists. Now people are also saying ...”
“I don’t know why you’d say that. That’s such a racist question,” Trump said.
The president continued, “Excuse me. But to say that — what you said is so insulting to me. It’s a very terrible thing that you said.”
Alcindor, who is Haitian-American, is a former Newsday reporter.
Also during the news conference, Trump touted his contributions to the wins in the Senate.
“Fifty-five is the largest number of Republican senators in the last 100 years,” Trump said.
He said he believed voters “clearly rebuked” Democrats in the Senate for their handling of the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
He also said Republican candidates who distanced themselves from him suffered losses because they “didn’t embrace me.”
He singled out several GOP incumbents who were not re-elected, including Reps. Mike Coffman of Colorado and Mia Love of Utah.
His role in hosting 30 rallies in 60 days stumping for Republicans across the country had impacted the course of the midterms, he said.
The election — with voter turnout that was the highest in decades — was the first since Trump took office in January 2017.
“Now is the time for members of both parties to come together and put partisanship aside,” he said.