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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 TrumpChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report Kim says North Korea needs to be 'prepared' for 'confrontation' with US Ex-Colorado GOP chair accused of stealing more than 0K from pro-Trump PAC 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 SimpsonRivers, hydropower and climate resilience The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate path uncertain after House approves Jan. 6 panel Overnight Energy: Biden reportedly will pledge to halve US emissions by 2030 | Ocasio-Cortez, Markey reintroduce Green New Deal resolution 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 Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos Garland strikes down Trump-era asylum decisions MORE. Senate GOP leaders had supported Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangePandemic proves importance of pharmaceutical innovation The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Trump faces test of power with early endorsements 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.