President Trump told a room of donors that Democrat Conor Lamb won in Pennsylvania because he’s “like Trump,” according to a report from The Atlantic.
The president reportedly made the remarks during a private fundraising dinner for a Missouri senate candidate. According to The Atlantic, in his speech, Trump said that Lamb ran “a pretty smart race, actually,” before adding, “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.”
At another point during the evening, Trump reportedly remarked, “He ran on a campaign that said very nice things about me. I said, ‘Is he a Republican? He sounds like a Republican to me.'”
Trump campaigned hard for Lamb’s opponent, Rick Saccone. In the weeks before the election, he appeared in the state twice and sent a series of surrogates to the Pittsburgh suburb, including Donald Trump Jr. and Kellyanne Conway. However, that didn’t prove to be enough, as Lamb won by a razor-thin margin.
On Wednesday, Paul Ryan echoed Trump’s remarks, saying that Lamb ran as a “conservative.” That statement prompted a series of editorials condemning the notion that Lamb is a GOP tail-rider. The Washington Post pointed out a number of areas in which Lamb differs from Republicans, including his support of the Affordable Care Act and his desire to for stronger background checks on gun sales.
Later in his speech on Wednesday, Trump seemed to admit that Lamb is a Democrat at the end of the day. He reportedly lamented, “The bottom line is when he votes, he’s going to vote with Nancy Pelosi, and he’s gonna vote with Schumer.”