WASHINGTON, D.C. — Donald Trump struck a celebratory tone on Wednesday during his post-election press conference, citing less-than-wave-like Democrat performances in key states as evidence of Republican strength.
He did, however, suggest that Republicans who did not embrace him (and lost) made a mistake.
“Peter Roskam didn’t want the embrace. Erik Paulsen didn’t want the embrace,” Trump said, referencing defeated GOP candidates in Illinois and Minnesota respectively. “And in New Jersey, I think he could have done well, but it didn’t work out too good, Bob Hugin, I feel badly, because I think that’s something that could have been won. That’s a race that could have been won.”
Hugin lost his highly-watched race against corrupt incumbent Bob Menendez by more than 9-points.
A former Trump donor and convention delegate, Hugin distanced himself from Trump during the contest, running an 11th hour ad promising that he would “stand up to Donald Trump” which some Republicans criticized as disloyal and potentially counter-productive come GOTV time. Yet Trump is relatively unpopular in New Jersey relative to the nation as a whole, and the Hugin campaign gambled that it could sway Trump-phobic women to vote for the Republican challenger or at least abstain from backing Menendez.
“Totally ridiculous,” one high level NJGOP operative told Save Jersey, reacting to the President’s comments.