A defiant Donald Trump has declared he is a "great moral leader", lashed the media again and claims Republicans who lost to rival Democrats in the Midterms did so because they failed to embrace his presidency.

Trump today defended his rhetoric and his status as a "moral leader" after a reporter asked him about the rise in anti-Semitic attacks during his presidency.

"I think I am a great moral leader and I love our country," he said at a White House news conference that spanned more than an hour.

Trump had told a reporter this week that he sometimes regrets not using a "softer tone."


But at today's news conference he said he does not do it because he has to defend himself.

"I'd be very good at a low tone, but when things are done not correctly about you, written about you, said about you, you have to defend yourself," he said.

"I would love to do a very even tone. It's much easier than what I have to do."

He said the news conference, where reporters shouted questions, was an example.

"I come in here as a nice person ready to answer questions" and the reporters start "screaming questions at me," he said.

The Democrats control the House of Representatives following the Midterm elections.
The Democrats control the House of Representatives following the Midterm elections.

Last night's Midterm elections result saw Trump's Republicans lose control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats.

Trump said those Republicans who lost their seats to Democrats did so because they had not shown him "love".

Those who had supported his policies had excelled.

Trump declared that the "Republican Party defied history," and claimed that his "vigorous campaigning stopped the blue wave."

Trump warns Democrats not to investigate him
After the Midterms, Democrats get a tricky assignment
Election shows that US divisions are only growing wider

Trump claimed credit for helping grow the GOP's Senate majority and said his party beat expectations "significantly" in the House.

"We did this in spite of a very dramatic fundraising disadvantage driven by Democrats' wealthy donors and special interest and very hostile media coverage, to put it mildly," Trump said from the formal East Room of the White House.

Trump tried to put a positive spin on the mixed verdict voters delivered in the first national referendum on his presidency. Democrats captured the House in yesterday's elections by leveraging voter fury with Trump, especially in the nation's suburbs and among women and minority voters. That ensures a change in power on Capitol Hill, dividing government in Washington for the first time in Trump's presidency.

Now the Democrats have majority-control of the House it's expected they will begin investigations into the President's activities but President Trump dismissed the notion saying he had been investigated since he announced his intention to stand for presidential nomination.

"They won't find anything because there's nothing to find."

He said there was "investigation fatigue" and instead he wanted Democrats to work with Republicans in a "beautiful bipartisan relationship" to avoid legislation getting swallowed up by squabbling politicians.

America was "booming like never before", the President said, and he wanted to keep those numbers up.

Trump's job just got much harder

So Congress has been split down the middle. The question is, what does that mean for the President?

Trump seemed happy enough with the result, calling it a "tremendous success".

That is very much a "glass half full" kind of attitude.

"It's nice for Donald Trump to tweet about a 'tremendous success' tonight. It's not a tremendous success," CNN host Jake Tapper said.

"They (the Democrats) are going to make his life a living hell.

"He is going to find an opposition that he has never really encountered before."

First, and most significantly, Trump will no longer be able to pass legislation without support from the Democrats.

For the first two years of his presidency, he has been able to rely on Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress, and sometimes even that has not been enough.

For example, Trump's push to repeal his predecessor's signature health care law, Obamacare, failed when a few members of his own side went rogue.

Now even perfect, iron-clad discipline from the Republicans will not be enough. To pass anything, he needs the Democrats' help.

Is there any hope at all of something productive getting done? Maybe.

Nancy Pelosi, who will probably become Speaker when the new House sits for the first time in January, promised she would "strive for bipartisanship" in her victory speech today.

"We've all had enough of division," she said.

Former Republican senator Rick Santorum said the President was "not an ideologue" and could be willing to work with the Democrats on issues like infrastructure spending and raising the minimum wage.

In truth, it would require a degree of co-operation that has rarely been seen in Washington D.C. since Trump became President.

Trump sees the results of the Midterm elections as a
Trump sees the results of the Midterm elections as a "tremendous success". Photo / AP

And that's not all.

The Democrats will now assume control over powerful congressional committees, whose responsibilities include oversight of the White House.

They can investigate Trump and his associates. They can subpoena executive agencies, officials and departments for evidence, documents and testimony.

They can even compel the President to hand over his mysterious tax returns, so the world can discover whether he is as upstanding — or as rich — as he claims.

Keep a particularly close eye on Congressman Adam Schiff, who will now chair the House Intelligence Committee.

Under its current Republican chairman Devin Nunes, that committee has largely protected Trump from the prospect of a more expansive congressional investigation into his presidential campaign.

Schiff will undoubtedly press the committee to do a more thorough job.

He will also be keen to ensure Special Counsel Robert Mueller is allowed to complete his own investigation into Russian election interference unimpeded.

"I don't know if he (Trump) understands how much his life changed tonight," MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace said.

She pointed out that "every tax return, every scandal" would now be mercilessly scrutinised.

On top of that, her colleague Kurt Bardella believes five members of Mr Trump's Cabinet — Ryan Zinke, Ben Carson, Betsy DeVos, Kirstjen Nielsen and Wilbur Ross — could face fresh pressure from the House Oversight Committee.

"For the better part of the last two years, the House Oversight Committee has gone dormant," Mr Bardella wrote.

"Chairman Trey Gowdy hasn't sent a single subpoena to the Trump administration.

"Democrats, however, will have no such hesitation."

Over on Fox News, former judge Andrew Napolitano said the Democrats wanted to run "shadow investigations" into Trump, exposing information that Mueller has so far kept away from the public.

Congressman Adam Schiff will now chair the House Intelligence Committee and is likely to get on Trump's nerves. Photo / AP
Congressman Adam Schiff will now chair the House Intelligence Committee and is likely to get on Trump's nerves. Photo / AP

Trump is not the first president to face this quandary.

His predecessor Barack Obama also enjoyed majorities in both houses of Congress for the first two years of his presidency. He used that power to pass Obamacare, and other legislation, without the Republicans' support.

Like Trump, Obama endured a fearsome backlash.

In the 2010 midterms, the Democrats lost 63 seats, and for his last six years in office Obama struggled to get anything through the Republican-controlled House.

Negotiation occasionally worked. Very, very occasionally. But more often than not, Obama was forced to circumvent Congress and use his executive powers.

Those powers, which give the President authority over government agencies, regulations and foreign policy, will give Trump quite a bit of scope to enact his policies without needing to change legislation.

The problem? If those policies are not enshrined in law, whoever becomes president after Trump can simply saunter into the White House and revoke his executive orders with a stroke of their own pen.

"Tonight was a massive win for Donald Trump and the people he campaigned for," one of Trump's biggest supporters, Fox News host Sean Hannity, said today.

"The Democrats winning the House is meaningless."

That is, to put it mildly, wishful thinking.