Pro-Trump group buys $500K ads thanking GOP senators for tax reform

A prominent outside group supporting President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE is launching a $500,000 ad buy aimed at thanking three Republican senators for voting for the Senate's tax plan last week.

The list of senators thanked in the ads from America First Policies stands out because the three lawmakers — Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights MORE (Maine), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain on Pelosi-Trump feud: 'Put this crap aside' and 'work together for America' Meghan McCain says Ben Carson should be developing brain cancer treatment, not working at HUD Graham urges Trump not to abandon infrastructure talks with Democrats MORE (Ariz.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeSen. Coons examines Amazon's privacy and data security practices for Alexa devices Oil companies join blitz for carbon tax The Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget MORE (Ariz.) — are far from solid allies of the president. 
 
Flake has been an outspoken critic of Trump for more than a year, writing a book that took a shot at the direction he's leading the GOP and announcing his retirement from the Senate earlier this fall with a floor speech that skewered Trump. McCain has regularly tangled with Trump, most notably over the Arizona senator's status as a prisoner of war. Collins did not back Trump during the election and has criticized him as well. 
 
In the Maine ad, the narrator calls on Collins's constituents to phone her D.C. office to thank her for her vote. 
 
"Susan Collins, independent, respected, a leader for Maine who fought to pass the biggest tax reform in a generation," the ad says. 
 
"Taking on her own party to protect critical property tax deductions for 166,000 Mainers, expanded deductions for medical expenses and put thousands of dollars back in your wallet." 
 
The Arizona ad echoes that message about the bill, thanking the senators for "doing the right thing for Arizona and for America." 
 
The tax reform push has become the central piece of the White House's agenda, as Trump has called on Congress to deliver him a bill before the end of the year. The Senate passed its plan last week by a narrow 51-49 vote margin, setting the stage for the House and Senate to assemble a conference committee to iron out the differences between the two plans and agree on a consensus bill.