Trump expresses confidence on midterms

Trump expresses confidence on midterms

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN analyst Kirsten Powers: Melania's jacket should read 'Let them eat cake' CNN's Cuomo confronts Lewandowski over 'womp womp' remark Sessions says FBI agent Peter Strzok no longer has his security clearance MORE voiced confidence Friday that Republicans will do well in the midterm elections during a speech to the National Rifle Association.

Trump argued that Democrats are “very concerned” going into November, but called on supporters to not get “complacent” so that Republicans can build on their majorities in the House and Senate and continue to reap the benefits from the GOP’s tax plan.

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“We are all finally putting America first and we are seeing the incredible results as a result of our massive tax cuts and everybody is benefitting and everyone is happy,” Trump said. “And the Democrats are very concerned. You watch how well we do in '18, you watch. Get out and vote. Don’t be complacent.”

Trump and the GOP are facing headwinds in the fall, given history that shows the president's party generally loses seats in his first midterm election. 

In addition to those historic trends, Trump's low approval ratings have House Republicans prepared for significant losses. Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPolitical figures pay tribute to Charles Krauthammer House approves five-year farm bill House postpones vote on compromise immigration bill MORE (R-Wis.) has already announced he will not be back, a decision that cast further doubt on the GOP's hopes of holding back a Democratic wave. 

Trump acknowledged the problem of history, but suggested his party can break with the trend, a public position in line with reports that the president has pushed back at advisers who are pessimistic about their party's hopes of retaining the House.

“Like 90 percent of the time you win the presidency and for whatever reason you lose the midterm. You have this great win, now you take a breath, you relax, all of a sudden two years is up, they’re fighting like hell and you’re complacent. … We have to win the midterms,” Trump said. 

As the midterms approach, the White House is increasingly focused on protecting GOP control in the House to avoid the possibility of an impeachment debate. And allies close to Trump are looking to make the election a referendum on the president’s performance and the prospect of impeachment.
 
This isn’t the first time that Trump has urged voters to not become complacent ahead of the fall elections. And in Friday’s speech, he specifically pointed out that Republicans need to expand their narrow 51-seat majority in the Senate.

"We're fighting to defend our freedom, we need the people in Washington to support our freedom, support our candidates," Trump said.

"[Democrats] say we have a majority, we have what, a majority of one person? That's not really a majority. We need Republicans to do it right, to get the kind of things we want. We've got to get Republicans elected. We've got to do great in '18.”

The GOP's chances of retaining the Senate are seen as much higher given the fact that the party is only defending eight seats, while Democrats are defending 10 just in states won by Trump in 2016. 

Ben Kamisar contributed.