Trump says he's focused on Senate with 2 days until midterms
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump appears to be distancing himself from the fate of House Republican candidates two days before Tuesday's midterm elections.
Speaking to reporters as he left the White House en route to get-out-the-vote rallies in Georgia and Tennessee on Sunday, Trump said Republican enthusiasm is higher than he's ever seen it — but he seemed to hedge in his predictions for the House.
"I think we're going to do well in the House. But, as you know, my primary focus has been on the Senate, and I think we're doing really well in the Senate," he said of Tuesday's races.
The comments suggest that Trump has grown less optimistic about the GOP's chances of retaining control of the House, where Republicans are facing greater headwinds than in the Senate. And they came as Trump was traveling to two traditionally Republican states to help bolster two statewide candidates ahead of elections that could dramatically reshape his presidency.
Trump is set to campaign Sunday in Macon, Georgia, for Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp and in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn.
Trump told reporters before boarding Air Force One that "tremendous crowds" were already awaiting him in both states. He said that enthusiasm was off the charts, though polls have shown Democrats to have an enthusiasm edge.
"The level of fervor, the level of fever is very strong in the Republican side," said Trump, adding: "I have never seen such excitement. Maybe back in '16 during the presidential, right around the vote. But I have never seen such an enthusiastic Republican Party."
Trump also pushed back on the idea that the election was a referendum on his presidency and that Democrats reclaiming the House would be a rebuke of him and his policies.
"No, I don't view this as for myself," Trump said, before making the case that his campaigning has "made a big difference" in a handful of Senate races across the country.
"I think I've made a difference of five or six or seven. That's a big difference," he said, crediting his rallies for the influence.
"These rallies are the best thing we've done. I think that the rallies have really been the thing that's caused this whole big fervor to start and to continue," he said.
Trump has had a busy campaign schedule in the final stretch of the race, with 11 rallies over six days — including two planned Sunday and three Monday in Ohio, Indiana and Missouri.
Country singer Lee Greenwood will be performing Trump favorite "God Bless the U.S.A." in Chattanooga as well as in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on Monday. Fox News personality Sean Hannity and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh will also be appearing at the Missouri rally, Trump's re-election campaign announced Sunday.
Trump plans to spend Election Day conducting get-out-the-vote interviews with local media at the White House, where he is set to watch returns come in.