Retiring GOP rep: Trump claim Republicans would have won if they embraced him ‘a total joke’

Retiring GOP Rep. Ryan Costello (Pa.) said Wednesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to oust Nielsen as early as this week: report California wildfire becomes deadliest in state’s history Sinema’s Senate win cheered by LGBTQ groups MORE's assertion that certain Republicans lawmakers would have won their midterm congressional races if they embraced him was a "total joke." 

"You develop a certain respect for the people you work with, and when you see them lose, it’s tough enough. But when you see them lose because of the president, and the president not only doesn’t acknowledge that, instead he says if they embraced him they would have won, which is a total joke, nobody believes that," Costello said while speaking on CNN. 

"But then to insult them and mock them on their way out, it’s just the height of pettiness, it’s not excusable."


Costello added that many of the lawmakers who lost their seats in the House in Tuesday's midterm elections were defeated because of the anger that many Americans held toward the president. 

Trump on Wednesday criticized a range of GOP lawmakers who lost reelection bids, suggesting that a different outcome may have occurred had they embraced him. 

"Mia LoveLudmya (Mia) LoveRepublicans must learn from the election mistake on immigration Juan Williams: Trump's hostile takeover of the GOP Election Countdown: Recount prospects grow in Florida | Abrams team to sue over absentee ballots | Dem wins pivotal Georgia House seat | A look at the uncalled races | Corporations spend big to beat ballot measures MORE gave me no love, and she lost," Trump said, referring to the Republican congresswoman from Utah. "Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.”

Costello, who did not seek another term and saw Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional District turn blue on Election Day, initially slammed the president for his remarks on Twitter.

"To deal w harassment & filth spewed at GOP [members of Congress] in tough seats every day for 2 yrs, bc of POTUS," Costello tweeted during the press conference. "To bite ur lip more times you’d care to; to disagree & separate from POTUS on principle & civility in ur campaign; to lose bc of POTUS & have him piss on u."

Later on CNN, he compared Trump's remarks about certain Republican lawmakers to dancing on somebody's grave. 

Democrats won a majority in the House on Tuesday in a major victory for the party. Democrat Chrissy Houlahan won 58 percent of the vote in Costello's district to replace him in the next Congress.