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Trump campaigned for Republican who lost in Pennsylvania, but is taking credit for Democrat's win

Yes, Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone lost in a district that President Trump won by 20 points, and sure, Trump and his eldest son both stumped for him in the days leading up to Tuesday's special election, but none of that matters when the Democrat and Trump are basically doppelgängers.

At least that's the gist of what Trump said during a private fundraiser Wednesday night in Missouri for U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley. In a tape obtained by The Atlantic, Trump is heard discussing Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district race, which Democrat Conor Lamb won by a razor-thin margin. Trump told donors that Lamb, 33, ran a "pretty smart race, actually," then took credit for his win.

In Trump's retelling of events, "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. 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.'" Lamb actually did say he supports Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum, but has called the GOP tax bill a "giveaway" to the wealthiest Americans and criticized Republicans for trying to repeal ObamaCare.

Maybe the real lesson here isn't that Lamb is actually a sleeper Republican, but rather that Hawley should consider keeping his Trump-related events behind closed doors, lest he become the latest Republican to lose after a very public Trump endorsement.