After Democrat Doug Jones’ stunning win in the Alabama Senate race on Tuesday night, President Donald Trump was mildly frustrated with Steve Bannon for urging him to back Roy Moore, but he remained surprisingly calm considering the GOP’s loss, according to several reports out Wednesday night.
The President was annoyed by coverage suggesting that the Alabama race was a referendum on his presidency and said, “I won Alabama, and I would have won Alabama again,” a senior administration official told the Washington Post. Trump spent Wednesday asking advisers whether he made a mistake backing Moore and about his tweet after the race stressing that he endorsed Luther Strange in the Republican primary, the New York Times reported.
Trump distanced himself from the race and instead blamed Bannon for encouraging him to stand with Moore and blamed Moore for being a bad candidate, according to the Washington Post. However, it appears Trump is not upset enough with Bannon to remove him from his large circle of advisers and the two spoke by phone with Bannon on Tuesday, according to the New York Times.
Despite his frustration and time spent questioning his choices, aides told the Washington Post and the New York Times that Trump was in surprisingly good spirits on Wednesday and approached the loss with a relatively muted response.
Trump, known for launching into angry tirades on Twitter while watching the news in the morning, only published a few tweets on the race on Wednesday. He distanced himself from Moore and reminded Twitter that he backed Strange in the primary. He later followed up with a tweet saying that the Republican party needs to recruit better candidates, placing the blame squarely on Moore.
One member of Trump’s orbit who could see his role diminished in the wake of the Alabama loss is Bill Stepien, Trump’s political director. The White House could bring on another political adviser, and reduce Stepien’s role, according to the Washington Post. The New York Times also reported that aides expect Stepien’s role to be diminished.