Administration

Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was ‘hostile’ during 2016 presidential campaign

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President Trump jabbed at former Nevada senator Dean Heller (R) on Wednesday, suggesting that Heller lost his reelection bid last November because of his hesitance to embrace Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“What happened with Dean Heller is, I tried for him, but my base did not believe him,” Trump told a group of regional reporters at the White House, according to the Nevada Independent.

“They wouldn’t go for him because Dean Heller was really hostile in my race,” he added, referencing the then-senator’s reluctance to back Trump during the 2016 campaign.

{mosads}Heller “was hostile beyond normal politics and the hostility carried over unfortunately to the presidential run against crooked Hillary Clinton,” Trump reportedly added, referencing his 2016 Democratic opponent.

Trump did not directly answer whether Heller’s opposition in 2016 cost him a shot at becoming Trump’s next Interior Secretary, the Nevada Independent reported, but the president added that he likes the former senator “a lot.” 

In response to Trump’s barbs, Heller told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Trump called him days before his election against Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) to assure him he would “win by five points.”

“I consider the president a friend,” Heller told the Review-Journal. “I like him. I just hate to respond to these kind of comments. He did a lot of good for me in my campaign.”

Trump hosted three separate campaign rallies in support of Heller over the final months of the 2018 midterm campaign. Heller ultimately lost his bid for a second full term, earning 45 percent of the vote to Rosen’s 50 percent.

While the president regularly boasts about the unity within the Republican Party, he has lashed out on multiple occasions at departed GOP lawmakers.

In a post-midterms press conference last November, Trump called out a handful of defeated representatives — including of Reps. Mike Coffman (Colo.), Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Barbara Comstock (Va.) and Mia Love (Utah) — who he suggested lost their races because they did not align closely enough with him.

The president also regularly criticized Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who retired from the Senate last month.

Tags Barbara Comstock Carlos Curbelo Dean Heller Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Jacky Rosen Jeff Flake Mia Love Mike Coffman

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