GOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said Sunday that Republicans didn't control Congress during the first two years of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? MORE's presidency despite having majorities in both chambers.

Johnson said that while the GOP had a majority in the Senate during Trump's first two years in office, they didn't control the chamber since Democrats had a large minority.

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“You said we controlled both chambers. We didn’t," Johnson told NBC's "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, who questioned why Republicans didn't approve funding for Trump's proposed border wall while they had those majorities.

"We had a majority in the Senate. So you don’t control it. We needed Democrats to support us and they’ve been unified in trying to thwart this president’s No. 1 issue in the campaign, which was to secure the borders," Johnson said. 

"So no, we didn’t have control," he continued. "We needed Democrats, we never had any cooperation from Democrats, which is regrettable.”

Republicans were in the majority in both the House and the Senate during the first two years of the Trump presidency, but they only held a slight advantage in the Senate.

They began Trump's presidency with a 52-48 margin, but that shrunk to 51-49 at the end of 2017 with Democrat Doug Jones's shocking win in a special Senate election in Alabama.

And because the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Hill's Morning Report — Recession fears climb and markets dive — now what? Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire Graham promises ObamaCare repeal if Trump, Republicans win in 2020 MORE (R-Ariz.) was absent for much of 2018, the party's majority was effectively 50-49 for a large part of that year. 

Republicans expanded their edge in the Senate to 53-47 in November but lost control of the House to Democrats. 

Johnson on Sunday blamed Democrats for not supporting Trump's proposal for a wall along the southern border, saying they have voted for similar legislation before Trump was president.

"They just won’t support it now because it’s President Trump," he said. "It’s very regrettable. The easy solution is just have them stop being hypocrites.”

Trump on Friday declared a national emergency to circumvent Congress and spend about $8 billion on barriers along the border, a move that is already being met with legal challenges.