Trump squeezes ‘no’ vote Heller at healthcare lunch
President Trump sat next to Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), an opponent of the Senate GOP’s bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, at a White House lunch designed to salvage the effort.
Trump used the seating arrangement to pressure Heller, joking about him wanting to “remain a senator.”
“Any senator who votes against debate says you are fine with ObamaCare,” Trump said.
Heller, considered one of the GOP’s most endangered 2018 incumbents, has a fraught relationship with the White House over his stance on healthcare.
TRUMP to HELLER: “Look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he?” pic.twitter.com/LFiwuEY693
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) July 19, 2017
An outside group aligned with Trump announced last month it would launch a seven-figure ad buy against the Nevada senator for opposing the repeal-and-replace bill.
The group, America First Policies, scrapped the ads at the urging of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Trump used a strategic seating arrangement at the last all-senators healthcare meeting at the White House, placing himself between Sens. Lisa Murkowksi (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).
Both senators opposed the repeal-and-replace plan and have said they would not vote to advance an alternative repeal-only bill backed by McConnell.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) sat on the other side of the president on Wednesday.
Trump sat by Heller, tells group of Republican Senators that he didn’t put head above parapet bc “he wants to remain a senator doesn’t he”
— Andrew Beatty (@AndrewBeatty) July 19, 2017
Trump joked about Heller wanting to remain a senator & “Any senator who votes against debate says you are fine with Obamacare” via @spettypi
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) July 19, 2017
This report was updated at 12:55 p.m.
“He wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he?” Trump says to Nevada’s Heller.
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) July 19, 2017
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