Trump: Heitkamp will be 'told' to vote against any nominee to replace Kennedy

Trump: Heitkamp will be 'told' to vote against any nominee to replace Kennedy
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE took aim at North Dakota Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampDems pressure GOP to take legal action supporting pre-existing conditions Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas Senate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds MORE (D) on Wednesday, accusing her of conspiring with Senate Democrats to obstruct the confirmation of his eventual Supreme Court justice nominee.

Speaking at a campaign rally in North Dakota, Trump suggested that Heitkamp would be instructed by party leaders to vote against his nominee, and would go along with it.

"Heidi will vote 'no' to any pick we make to the Supreme Court," Trump told the crowd.

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"She'll be forced to vote 'no,'" Trump added. "Maybe because of this she'll be forced to vote 'yes.' But she will vote 'no' the day after the election, on everything."

Heitkamp, however, voted for Trump's previous Supreme Court nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, last year.

She was also the first Democratic senator to announce her support for now-Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoSenate GOP attempts to wave Trump off second Putin summit Graham would consider US-Russia military coordination in Syria White House: Trump 'disagrees' with Putin's request to question Americans MORE's nomination to the position after serving as Trump's CIA chief. Heitkamp also backed Gina Haspel, Trump's pick to replace Pompeo as head of the CIA.

The comments came hours after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he would be retiring from the bench at the end of next month. Kennedy's retirement leaves Trump with his second nomination to the Court, which Republicans hope to pass through the Senate before November's midterms.

Trump praised Kennedy at his rally later in the afternoon, telling the crowd that the justice was leaving his legacy in the president's hands.

"I'm very honored that he chose to do it during my term in office, because he felt confident in my ability to make the right choice to carry on his legacy," he said.

Heitkamp is up for reelection in November, and a recent poll shows her narrowly trailing her GOP challenger, Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds The Hill's Morning Report — Trump denigrates NATO allies, floats 4 percent solution Supreme Court vacancy throws Senate battle into chaos MORE.