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Trump: Heitkamp will be 'told' to vote against any nominee to replace Kennedy

Trump: Heitkamp will be 'told' to vote against any nominee to replace Kennedy
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald TrumpBlinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State Senators discussing Trump censure resolution Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' MORE took aim at North Dakota Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampHarrison seen as front-runner to take over DNC at crucial moment Biden to tap Vilsack for Agriculture secretary: reports OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA guidance may exempt some water polluters from Supreme Court permit mandate | Vilsack's stock rises with Team Biden | Arctic wildfires linked to warming temperatures: NOAA MORE (D) on Wednesday, accusing her of conspiring with Senate Democrats to obstruct the confirmation of his eventual Supreme Court justice nominee.

Speaking at a campaign rally in North Dakota, Trump suggested that Heitkamp would be instructed by party leaders to vote against his nominee, and would go along with it.

"Heidi will vote 'no' to any pick we make to the Supreme Court," Trump told the crowd.

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"She'll be forced to vote 'no,'" Trump added. "Maybe because of this she'll be forced to vote 'yes.' But she will vote 'no' the day after the election, on everything."

Heitkamp, however, voted for Trump's previous Supreme Court nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, last year.

She was also the first Democratic senator to announce her support for now-Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoBiden (mostly) builds on Trump's foreign policy China: US military presence in South China Sea a threat to peace, stability White House installs new leadership at federally-funded international broadcasters MORE's nomination to the position after serving as Trump's CIA chief. Heitkamp also backed Gina Haspel, Trump's pick to replace Pompeo as head of the CIA.

The comments came hours after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he would be retiring from the bench at the end of next month. Kennedy's retirement leaves Trump with his second nomination to the Court, which Republicans hope to pass through the Senate before November's midterms.

Trump praised Kennedy at his rally later in the afternoon, telling the crowd that the justice was leaving his legacy in the president's hands.

"I'm very honored that he chose to do it during my term in office, because he felt confident in my ability to make the right choice to carry on his legacy," he said.

Heitkamp is up for reelection in November, and a recent poll shows her narrowly trailing her GOP challenger, Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court upholds ruling invalidating Dakota Access, but doesn't shut down pipeline | Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency | Biden seeks to bolster consultation with Indian Country Court upholds ruling invalidating Dakota Access, but doesn't shut down pipeline Group of GOP senators seeks to block Biden moves on Paris, Keystone MORE.