President Trump warned Democrats Wednesday that they can either have bipartisan cooperation on trade, infrastructure and health care, or they can pursue investigations into him — but they can’t do both.
Mr. Trump also said he’ll still push for more funding for his border wall, setting up an early clash with Democrats who after this week’s voting will control the House when the new Congress convenes. He said a government shutdown is still “possible.”
He saved his worst criticism for Republicans who refused to embrace him, and congratulated Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Democrats’ House leader, in line to become speaker.
The president did, though, say Democrats will squander the chance for cooperation if they attempt to pry loose his tax returns or fire off a flurry of subpoenas on other areas.
“If that happens then we’re going to do the same thing and government comes to a halt,” the president said at a press conference.
Mr. Trump said he would go into “a war-like posture,” saying there are investigations he would encourage to retaliate.
He also warned Democrats they would come out on the wrong side of that tit-for-tat, saying he knew how to investigate “better than them.”
Most of the press conference was dominated by politics and recriminations from antagonistic television reporters, but Mr. Trump did talk some policy.
He said he thinks a deal on illegal immigrant “Dreamers” could still be in the offing — but said it may have to wait until after the Supreme Court rules on whether the Obama-era DACA policy protecting Dreamers from deportation is legal, and whether Mr. Trump’s attempted phaseout was done legally.
He said he figures the gridlock that snared Congress for the past two years might actually lessen, saying Democrats now will be responsible for coming up with bills they’ll have to try to get agreement on.
“We have a lot of things in common on infrastructure, we want to do something on health care, they want to do something on health care,” he said. “We will get the Democrats and we will get the Republicans, or some of the Republicans.”
The president signaled he would be open to working with Democrats on regulating social media companies, a more liberal policy proposal than the Republican Party would back. He said he’s concerned about the risk of censorship, but he’s “certainly” willing to talk across the aisle.
For leaders in the Progressive Caucus, there are some areas that they would be willing to work across party lines with Mr. Trump, if his offer is serious.
The main issues for progressives would be to tackle pharmaceutical drug reform, infrastructure, criminal justice reform, and possibly the DREAM Act.
“I just have to say the jury is out in my mind because Donald Trump has said many things and done the exact opposite,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Progressive Caucus vice-chair, said in a press call Wednesday.
• Gabriella Muñoz contributed to this story.