Trump comments on Conor Lamb victory at private dinner
President Donald Trump weighed in Wednesday on the results of Pennsylvania’s 18th District election, according to The Atlantic, dismissing concerns over what Democrat Conor Lamb’s apparent victory over Republican Rick Saccone might mean for midterm elections in November.
The magazine reported that it obtained an audio recording of remarks Trump made at a private fundraiser for Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley.
Trump, who endorsed Saccone and visited Western Pennsylvania to support his campaign, said Lamb “ran a pretty smart race.”
The vote tally from Tuesday’s election gave Lamb a 627-vote lead over Saccone with about 375 provisional, military and overseas ballots yet to be counted, according to the Associated Press.
“The young man last night that ran, he said, ‘Oh, I’m like Trump. Second Amendment, everything. I love the tax cuts, everything.’ He ran on that basis,” Trump said, according to The Atlantic story by Elaina Plott.
Lamb didn’t make opposition to Trump part of his campaign, but he opposed from the start the tax reform plan the president signed into law, calling it a corporate giveaway and saying lawmakers could have given a tax cut to the middle class without driving up the deficit.
He did emphasize his support for the Second Amendment. His first campaign ad showed him shooting an assault-style rifle at a shooting range.
After the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., Lamb said he supported expanded background checks and improving mental health treatment but opposed an assault rifle ban or new restrictions on pieces of equipment such as extended magazines.
Prominent members of both the Democratic and Republican parties have said the election demonstrates a path to victory for Democratic candidates around the country in districts where Trump is popular.
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Pennsylvania Republican leaders said yesterday that the win was a “fluke,” saying they weren’t worried about Democrats sweeping elections this fall.
Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676, [email protected] or via Twitter @wesventeicher.