President Trump downplayed moderate Democrat Conor Lamb’s victory in a Pennsylvania special election earlier this week, saying Lamb seems like a Republican.
Lamb defeated Republican Rick Saccone by a razor-thin margin Tuesday night in the special House election for Pennsylvania’s 18th district, which Trump won in 2016 by almost 20 percentage points.
Trump himself was apparently impressed.
Lamb ran “a pretty smart race, actually,” the president said at a private fundraising event for Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley on Wednesday, according to audio obtained by the Atlantic. “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. 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.’”
The GOP spent close to $10 million on the campaign but was still unable to boost Saccone over the finish line against Lamb, a former Marine and Ivy-League grad who avoided making opposition to Trump his campaign’s focus.
“We had an interesting time because we lifted [Saccone] seven points up. That’s a lot,” Trump said. “And I was up 22 points, and we lifted seven, and seven normally would be enough, but we’ll see how it all comes out.”
The president predicted Lamb’s self-proclaimed centrism will disappear when he gets to Congress, since he will be under pressure to vote along the party line.
“The bottom line is when he votes, he’s going to vote with Nancy Pelosi. And he’s gonna vote with Schumer,” Trump said. “And that’s what’s gonna happen, and there’s nothing he can do about it. So it doesn’t matter what he feels, it doesn’t matter.”