GOP lawmaker: Trump isn't making it easy for Republicans to keep majority

GOP lawmaker: Trump isn't making it easy for Republicans to keep majority
© Camille Fine

A senior House Republican said Wednesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE is not making it any easier for the GOP to enact legislative priorities and keep its majority in next year’s midterm elections.

The day after a Democrat won a Senate seat in Alabama for the first time in a quarter-century, Rep. Mike SimpsonMIchael (Mike) Keith SimpsonBipartisan group reveals agricultural worker immigration bill House passes Paycheck Fairness Act Press: Democrats dare to think big MORE (R-Idaho) suggested that Republicans might have a better shot at remaining in power if they can show voters next year that they can govern.

“A lot of it still depends on what happens next year. If we get some things done, maybe [we will] improve our chances,” Simpson told reporters in the Capitol.

But Trump, Simpson said, isn’t helping when he keeps stirring controversy.

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“He’s making it very, very difficult, because all the news about his latest tweet, what he says, and then he gets mad at us because we don’t defend it,” Simpson said with exasperation.

Republicans have yet to fulfill any of their major campaign promises after 11 months of across-the-board control of Washington, but they are aiming to send Trump their tax overhaul next week.

Tuesday’s stunning election results in Alabama marked the second major electoral defeat for Republicans in the last month.

In November, Democrats won governorships in Virginia and New Jersey. Democrats also came close to unexpectedly winning the Virginia House of Delegates, which a month later still has not been formally called amid recounts.

Republican Roy Moore earlier this year won a crowded GOP primary for the Alabama Senate seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe shifting impeachment positions of Jonathan Turley Rosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe MORE. Senate GOP leaders had supported Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeState 'certificate of need' laws need to go GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries Roy Moore trails Republican field in Alabama MORE (R-Ala.), who was appointed as a placeholder in February, in a runoff against Moore in September.

Moore won the runoff but faced mounting allegations of sexual misconduct in the weeks leading up Tuesday's special election against Democrat Doug Jones. The Washington Post reported on claims that he pursued relationships with teenage girls as young as 14 while he was in his 30s.

Moore also made inflammatory remarks, such as taking issue with the first Muslim to serve in Congress taking his oath of office on a Quran and invoking slavery when asked what Trump meant by the phrase “make America great again.”

Jones was propelled by a surge in black voter turnout, as well as suburban voters who rejected Moore. The high number of write-in votes also helped Jones prevail.

Simpson predicted that Republicans currently have a “50-50” chance of losing the House next year, pointing to the number of retirements this year that bear resemblance to lawmakers calling it quits before the wave elections of 2006 and 2010.

He said it’s better for the GOP in the long term that Moore lost, despite losing a critical Senate seat.

“The real winners are the American people and, actually, Republicans, because we don’t have that albatross around our neck,” Simpson said.