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 rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 McCainPelosi receives John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award Romney: Trump 'has distanced himself from some of the best qualities of the human character' MSNBC host: Barr 'the most dangerous person' who works for Trump 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.