WASHINGTON, AMMAN: President Donald Trump on Wednesday hailed “a great win” in midterm elections after his Republican party increased its majority in the US Senate, although it lost control of the lower House of Representatives.
The Republicans “defied history” by retaining control of the upper house and “dramatically outperformed historical precedents,” Trump said.
Analysts said the loss of the House of Representatives was unlikely to affect President Trump’s regional policies, particularly in relation to Iran.
Eliot Engel, the congressman expected to head the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was one of the Democrats who opposed the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.
On Trump’s foreign policies, he said: “I don’t think we should challenge something just because it’s put forth by the administration, but I do think we have an obligation to review policies and do oversight.”
The election brought wins for Arab-American candidates on both sides of the political divide, and two Democrats made history by becoming the first Muslim women elected to Congress.
Rashida Tlaib, 42, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, ran virtually unopposed in Michigan. Ilhan Omar, 37, a former refugee from Somalia, won in Minneapolis, Minnesota, succeeding Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress.
Tlaib has become “a source of pride for Palestine and the entire Arab and Muslim world,” her uncle, Bassam Tlaib, said in the Palestinian village of Beit Ur Al-Fauqa.
Sam Bahour, a Palestinian-American business consultant in Ramallah, told Arab News Tlaib’s victory spoke volumes about the accumulation of political expertise and the political assimilation of Palestinian-Americans.
“We are proud that this trailblazer American politician is female, a professional, and ready and able to speak truth to power,” he said.
Palestinian diplomat Husam Zomlot said: “Her victory is historic and indicative of the role the Palestinian-American community will play in the future.”
Omar fled Somalia’s civil war with her parents when she was 8, and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya. In 1997, the family settled in Minnesota, where there is a large Somali population. She won a seat in the state’s legislature in 2016.
Elsewhere, Republican Justin Amash, the first Palestinian elected to Congress, in 2010 in Michigan, was comfortably re-elected.
In Florida, Lebanese-American Democrat Donna Shalala defeated Republican Maria Elvira Salazar. Three other Arab-American Republicans incumbents were also re-elected — Darin LaHood in Illinois, and Ralph Abraham Jr. and Garret Graves in Louisiana.