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 TrumpThe Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Congress eyes billion to billion to combat coronavirus Sanders makes the case against Biden ahead of SC primary MORE touted Nevada Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Lobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (R) as a reliable supporter of his agenda while hammering his Democratic Senate opponent Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenOvernight Defense: Lawmakers tear into Pentagon over .8B for border wall | Dems offer bill to reverse Trump on wall funding | Senators urge UN to restore Iran sanctions Bipartisan Senate resolution would urge UN to renew Iran arms embargo, travel restrictions Schumer reminds colleagues to respect decorum at State of the Union speech 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 PelosiOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — California monitoring 8,400 people for coronavirus | Pence taps career official to coordinate response | Dems insist on guardrails for funding Overnight Energy: Murkowski, Manchin unveil major energy bill | Lawmakers grill EPA chief over push to slash agency's budget | GOP lawmaker accuses Trump officials of 'playing politics' over Yucca Mountain Hillicon Valley — Presented by Facebook — Federal court rules tech giants can censor content | Trump upends surveillance fight | Senate passes bill barring federal funds for Huawei equipment MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis Schumer Sanders blasts Trump for picking 'completely unqualified' Pence for coronavirus response Trump passes Pence a dangerous buck Democratic mega-donor reaching out to Pelosi, Schumer in bid to stop Sanders: report 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 WatersMaxine Waters: Gang members have 'more integrity' than 'street player' Trump Maxine Waters blasts Trump as 'mafia boss' over Stone case Democrats highlight lack of diversity at major banks in new report 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 ClintonHillary Clinton to start new podcast Centrist Democrats insist Sanders would need delegate majority to win President Trump is weak against Bernie Sanders in foreign affairs 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 HorsfordBiden wins endorsement of key Nevada lawmaker Lawmakers trade insults over Trump budget cuts Democrats launch bilingual ad campaign off drug pricing bill 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 McCaskill70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Democrats criticize Medal of Freedom for Limbaugh as 'slap in the face' Kansas City, Kan., responds to Trump tweet: We root for the Chiefs, too 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.”