Trump: Lamb performed well in Pennsylvania because he’s ‘like Trump’

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE reportedly said late Wednesday that Democratic congressional candidate Conor Lamb performed well in a deep-red Pennsylvania district because he is “like Trump.”

Trump told GOP donors at a private fundraiser that Lamb ran “a pretty smart race, actually” against Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone, The Atlantic reported.

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“The young man last night that ran, he said, ‘Oh, I’m like Trump. Second Amendment, everything. I love the tax cuts, everything.’ He ran on that basis,” the president said of Lamb, according to the news outlet. “He ran on a campaign that said very nice things about me. I said, ‘Is he a Republican? He sounds like a Republican to me.’”

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Lamb distanced himself from House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Pelosi: Georgia primary ‘disgrace’ could preview an election debacle in November MORE (D-Calif.) during his campaign and spoke in support of expanded background checks instead of new restrictions on guns. He said he is also personally opposed to abortion, though he supports its legality.

He campaigned against the GOP tax cuts, calling them a “giveaway” to the wealthy.

“We didn’t need to add a penny to our debt to have the tax cut for our working and middle-class people,” he said during a debate.

During the debate, Lamb also expressed at least some support for Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, saying the U.S. has “to take some action to level the playing field,” though he added that he would support more targeted tariffs on countries like China.

He shied away from criticizing Trump during the race, but does not appear to have ever said he is “like” the president.

Lamb declared victory Tuesday night in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, previously a Republican stronghold, while leading Saccone by a razor-thin margin. Trump won the district by 20 points in 2016.

The New York Times called the race for Lamb on Wednesday, saying that his less-than-700-vote lead over Saccone “appears insurmountable.” Republicans had poured millions of dollars into a race that should have been an easy win, though the district itself will disappear once Pennsylvania’s new congressional map takes effect.

Trump supported and held a campaign rally for Saccone, during which he spoke primarily about his own administration’s accomplishments and criticized the media.

In his remarks on Wednesday, Trump claimed that his rally for Saccone lifted the candidate’s polling numbers “seven points up,” according to The Atlantic. Saccone was trailing Lamb in several polls by a thin margin into Tuesday’s election.

“That’s a lot,” Trump reportedly said. “And I was up 22 points, and we lifted 7, and 7 normally would be enough, but we’ll see how it all comes out. It’s, like, virtually a tie.”

Updated at 7:57 a.m.

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