Pittsburgh continued to mourn the 11 people killed in last Saturday’s anti-Semitic synagogue massacre, as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Donald Trump, on Thursday, appeared to see the significance of the horrific hate crime, and the significance of the mail bomb spree aimed at at more than a dozen of Trump’s own most prominent critics, in terms of how they affected the chances of Republicans in next week’s 2018 midterm elections.
Speaking at a campaign rally in Columbia, Missouri, on Thursday evening, Trump griped that “two maniacs” had halted the Republicans “tremendous momentum,” according to ABC News. He complained that the media focused on the two shocking crimes, rather than on the topics that he believes were generating “incredible” Republican “momentum.”
“Now, we did have two maniacs stop a momentum that was incredible. Because for seven days, nobody talked about the elections. It stopped a tremendous momentum,” Trump said, as quoted by Mediaite.
Trump then appeared to realize that his focus on “momentum” appeared insensitive, and briefly corrected himself — before quickly lapsing into another complaint about lost “momentum.”
“More importantly, we have to take care of our people, and we don’t care about momentum when it comes to a disgrace like just happened to the country,” Trump said. “But it did nevertheless stop a certain momentum.”
Watch Trump make his “momentum” remarks in the video below.
Trump on mail bomb campaign and Pittsburgh massacre: "We did have two maniacs stop a momentum that was incredible." pic.twitter.com/ffn4C5jklW
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) November 2, 2018
An ongoing analysis of election data by the political site FiveThirtyEight, however, shows little change in “momentum” for Republicans — or Democrats — over the past week.
On October 22, the day the first mailed bomb was discovered at the home of billionaire Democratic donor George Soros, according to the Associated Press, the site’s data analysis rated Democrats as having an 86.5 percent chance of reclaiming control of the House of Representatives, while Republicans had a 13.5 percent chance. But on November 1, the day Trump made his complaints about supposedly lost “momentum,” Democrats chances were 85 percent, and Republicans were at 15 percent.
In other words, despite Trump’s gripe about “maniacs” costing Republican “momentum,” the GOP’s chances actually increased in the house. The same held true in the senate, where Republicans had a 78.4 percent chance of holding control as of October 22, according to FiveThirtyEight. But on November 1, those Republican chances had increased to 84.8 percent.
Trump also explained at the rally which issues he believed were most important to the election, and that he would prefer to see the media cover rather than the Pittsburgh massacre and the nationwide mail bombs. The election should be about “Kavanaugh” and “caravans,” he said, according to ABC News.