President Trump said Tuesday that it will not be his fault if Republicans lose control of the House in the November midterm election, weeks after he told supporters to “pretend I’m on the ballot.”
Trump made the comments in a wide-ranging interview with the Associated Press in which he was asked whether he would bear some responsibility if Republicans lose the House.
“No, I think I’m helping people,” Trump told the Associated Press , defending his efforts to rally support for candidates nationwide. He has headlined four Make America Great Again rallies in each of the past two weeks, and he’s holding three more this week.
“I don’t believe anybody’s ever had this kind of an impact,” Trump said. “They would say that in the old days that if you got the support of a president or if you’ve got the support of somebody it would be nice to have, but it meant nothing, zero. Like literally zero. Some of the people I’ve endorsed have gone up 40 and 50 points just on the endorsement.”
Earlier this month, at a rally in Southaven, Miss., Trump urged supporters to vote, telling the crowd, “Pretend I’m on the ballot.”
Trump’s remarks come as Republicans’ prospects of maintaining control of the House appear increasingly dim, although House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), in an interview that aired Wednesday morning, sounded an upbeat note when asked about the party’s chances.
“I feel pretty good about it,” Ryan, who is retiring at the end of his term, said on “CBS This Morning.” “I think our voter enthusiasm is where it needs to be and, more importantly, we have a great record to run on.”
In the interview, which was recorded Tuesday, Ryan also defended the Republican tax cut law, which recent polls have shown is not widely popular with voters.
In a pair of tweets Wednesday morning, Trump blamed Democrats for the failure to pass immigration legislation and said Republicans should make the issue part of their closing pitch ahead of the midterms.
“Republicans must make the horrendous, weak and outdated immigration laws, and the Border, a part of the Midterms!” Trump wrote in one tweet.
In July, a pair of Trump-backed immigration bills went down to defeat in the Republican-controlled House amid a continuing struggle to unite the conservative and more moderate wings of the GOP on the issue.
In his AP interview, Trump accused Michael Cohen, his former personal attorney, of lying when he testified that Trump directed him to pay off two women who had alleged affairs with the then-candidate.
Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight violations of banking, tax and campaign finance law. As he has done previously, Trump played down his relationship with Cohen in the AP interview, calling his former longtime lawyer “a PR person who did small legal work” and saying it is “very sad” that Cohen struck a plea deal with prosecutors.
Cohen, who recently switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, said in a Sunday tweet that the Nov. 6 midterm election “might be the most important vote in our lifetime.”