Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada

Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republicans move to block Yemen war-powers votes for rest of Congress Trump says he's considering 10 to 12 contenders for chief of staff Michael Flynn asks judge to spare him from jail time MORE touted Nevada Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur Heller How to reform the federal electric vehicle tax credit White House jumps into fight over energy subsidies One last fight for Sen. Orrin Hatch MORE (R) as a reliable supporter of his agenda while hammering his Democratic Senate opponent Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenSchumer walking tightrope with committee assignments 10 things we learned from the midterms Election Countdown: Florida fight ends with Scott, DeSantis wins | Dems see Sunbelt in play for 2020 | Trump to campaign in Mississippi ahead of runoff | GOP wipeout in Orange County | Ortiz Jones concedes in Texas House race MORE during a rally in Las Vegas on Thursday night.

Trump praised Heller, one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection in November, as a "tremendous supporter." Heller greeted Trump at the airport when the president arrived Thursday before going up on stage with him at the rally for a handshake and hug.

The president recounted during the rally how the two Republicans weren’t initially “friends,” but said they now “love each other” and he considers Heller one of his greatest allies in Congress.

“I have to say this, when we started out, we weren’t friends. I didn’t like him, he didn’t like me, and as we fought and fought and fought, believe it or not, we started to respect each other...and then we love each other,” Trump said. “He’s been a tremendous supporter ever since I won the election.”

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Trump on Thursday blasted Rosen, reiterating his nickname "Wacky Jacky" that he has used to knock the Democratic Senate candidate. The president criticized her for voting against the GOP's tax law, arguing that if elected she would serve to back up House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiPelosi, Dem rebels near deal on term limits for party leaders Pelosi divides Democrats with term-limit proposal Oval Office clash ups chances of shutdown MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, Democratic leaders go toe-to-toe at White House Overnight Energy — Sponsored by the National Biodiesel Board — Trump moves to ease Obama water rule | EPA document contradicts agency over water rule data| Manchin to be top Dem on Senate Energy panel Coal supporter Manchin named top Dem on Senate Energy Committee MORE (D-N.Y.).

“Wacky Jacky will never vote for us folks,” Trump said to applause. “[Democratic lawmakers are] voting for Nancy Pelosi. They’re voting for the new de facto leader of the Democratic Party, [Rep.] Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersK Street works to court minority lawmakers Black Caucus huddles as talk of term limits heats up On The Money: Markets roiled by trade tensions | Rally on hopes of Fed pause on rate hikes | Senate sends two-week spending measure to Trump | Consumer bureau pick confirmed | Trade deficit at highest level since 2008 MORE (D-Calif.). Sen. Dean Heller is going to be with us all the time.”

Heller is the only Republican senator up in a state that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRoger Stone challenges Dems to produce WikiLeaks evidence Steve King asks Google CEO for names of employees to see if they're liberals O'Rourke edges out Biden in MoveOn straw poll MORE won in 2016. Nevada's marquee Senate race will likely determine which party controls the majority in the upper chamber.

Earlier in the day, Heller was criticized for saying there was a "little hiccup here" regarding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who has been battling sexual assault allegations. In a statement, Heller said the "hiccup" was in reference to how "poorly the Democrats have handled this process."

Trump is slated to follow up on the rally Thursday night by attending a high-dollar fundraiser with Heller and Republican Danny Tarkanian, who’s running in the competitive open-seat race for Nevada’s 3rd district against Democrat Susie Lee.

The president is seeking to boost the Republicans less than seven weeks before the midterm elections.

Trump called Heller up to the stage during his rally Thursday night, where the GOP senator thanked the president for raising wages and his work with veterans.

“I think you just turned Nevada red today,” Heller said. “But most importantly Mr. President, thank you for putting Nevada back to work.”

Following the rally, Rosen pushed back on Trump's "petty insults," making the argument that Heller would be in lockstep with Trump if elected.

“President Trump came back to Nevada to fundraise for my opponent and attack me with petty insults because he knows Dean Heller will be his rubber stamp in the Senate, and I won’t," Rosen said in a statement.

"Nevada’s hardworking families deserve an independent voice in the Senate who will fight for them and put our state first, not a spineless politician who breaks his promises under pressure from the White House and votes to take away health care from his constituents.”

While the Nevada contest could help determine the Senate majority in the fall, Trump repeated a refrain to voters to “not be complacent” in November.

“We need more Republicans,” Trump said, referring to the GOP’s slim 51-seat majority. “If someone has a cold, we don’t have a majority that day.”

Trump also singled out Tarkanian at the rally and former Rep. Cresent Hardy (R-Nev.), who wants to reclaim his seat in the slightly Democratic-leaning 4th district.

Hardy has a rematch against former Rep. Steven HorsfordSteven Alexander HorsfordWHIP LIST: Pelosi seeks path to 218 Another Dem to oppose Pelosi Nevada New Members 2019 MORE (D-Nev.), whom he beat in 2014.

Trump briefly noted his support for Hardy, a past Trump critic, but heaped praise on long-time ally Tarkanian, who was previously running in the primary against Heller but switched to run for Congress at Trump's urging.

“He’s shown such incredible stamina and loyalty and friendship,” Trump said of Tarkanian, who’s unsuccessfully ran for Congress on multiple occasions. “We gotta get him to win this race.”

Trump has a packed calendar of campaign events, with a rally scheduled Friday night in Springfield, Mo., to boost Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley, who is seeking to unseat Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMissouri GOP Secretary of State launches investigation into Hawley’s time as AG The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — Congress to act soon to avoid shutdown Schumer gets ready to go on the offensive MORE (D-Mo.).

McCaskill is one of 10 Democratic senators up for reelection in a state Trump won in 2016.

On Thursday, Trump accused Democrats running in those states of pretending to want bipartisanship.

“They get up and talk nicely about me,” Trump said. “But they’re never going to vote. I rather have them say bad things about and vote.”