Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MORE on Wednesday said he is "very happy" that some GOP senators from earlier in his term are no longer in the Senate, telling a group of supporters that those lawmakers have "gone on to greener pastures."

Trump went on a riff during a campaign-style speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition in which he complained about Democrats blocking his desired immigration policies before acknowledging he was unable to pass his agenda when Republicans held both chambers of Congress.


"But we didn’t have enough votes because it was very close. We needed 60 votes, and we had 51 votes, and sometimes, you know, we had a little hard time with a couple of them, right?" Trump said, referring to the GOP Senate majority during the previous Congress.

"Fortunately, they’re gone now. They’ve gone on to greener pastures — or perhaps far less green pastures, but they’re gone," he said, without naming any senators. "I’m very happy they’re gone."

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley later told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Japan that the comment was directed at former Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerRNC says ex-Trump ambassador nominee's efforts 'to link future contributions to an official action' were 'inappropriate' Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R-Tenn.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP senator calls CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' when asked about Parnas materials The 5 most vulnerable senators in 2020 Poll: Democrat Mark Kelly leads incumbent McSally in Arizona Senate race MORE (R-Ariz.), who were outspoken critics of the president during the last Congress.

"There’s been some confusion over who the president was talking about this morning when he mentioned some senator, senators who’ve passed on to greener pastures, or not so greener pastures," Gidley said. "Some people in the media are speculating he was talking about Senator McCain. That’s absolutely ridiculous. He was talking specifically about Senators Corker and Flake."

Earlier in his remarks, he alluded to the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMartha McSally fundraises off 'liberal hack' remark to CNN reporter Meghan McCain blasts NY Times: 'Everyone already knows how much you despise' conservative women GOP senator calls CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' when asked about Parnas materials MORE's (R-Ariz.) 2017 vote against what was known as a skinny repeal of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

"I’m keeping ObamaCare alive because I felt I should do that," Trump said. "We had a chance to terminate it, and a gentleman voted against it after campaigning for many years to repeal and replace. Then he voted against repeal and replace. Someday somebody will explain that to me."

GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsRepublicans will pay on Election Day for politicizing Trump's impeachment The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump beefs up impeachment defense with Dershowitz, Starr The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRepublicans will pay on Election Day for politicizing Trump's impeachment GOP threatens to weaponize impeachment witnesses amid standoff Paul predicts no Republicans will vote to convict Trump MORE (Alaska) also voted against the skinny repeal. Both are still serving in the Senate.

Trump has regularly gone after McCain, who died of brain cancer almost a year ago. The president often brings up McCain's ObamaCare vote. He also has accused McCain of being bad for veterans and complained that he was not properly thanked for approving some arrangements for McCain's funeral.

Corker and Flake often took issue with the president's rhetoric, earning his ire over Twitter. Both men voted in favor of the skinny repeal of Obamacare, and regularly voted along party lines.

Both Corker and Flake opted not to run for reelection in 2018.

Updated at 8:58 p.m.