On this day last year, President Trump sent a clear threat to Sen. Dean Heller that he needed to toe the party line and support the Republican agenda to repeal the Affordable Care Act… or else.
Here’s what President Trump said, with Sen. Heller sitting right next to him, at that White House meeting: “This one was the one we were worried about. You weren’t there, but you’re gonna be, you’re gonna be. Look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he? And I think the people of your state, which I know very well, I think they’re going to appreciate what you hopefully will do.”
Trump’s threat turned out to be more important than Heller’s promise to protect Nevadans’ health care. Just a week later, Heller was voting to repeal the ACA, strip coverage, and make health care more expensive for Nevadans.
We weren’t the only ones who noticed Trump’s humiliating threat:
@davidmackau: Look at Sen. Heller’s face when Trump makes a veiled threat about getting him kicked out of office. (Also, woman on mic at 0.12: “Ooo!”)
@News3LV: Heller gets the Trump treatment
@CillizzaCNN: If you think Trump was joking with Dean Heller, I’ve got a bridge you might be interested in
@frankthorp: Sen Heller’s reaction when Pres Trump says “And he wants to remain a Senator, doesn’t he?” is priceless →
@RebeccaRKaplan: “You want to remain a senator, don’t you?” Trump ribs Heller. Sitting right next to him at lunch. SHADE.
@LauraLitvan: How awkward is this? Pool report shows Trump sitting next to Heller at health mtg, and he says, ‘He wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he?’
@bridgetbhc: Whoa: Per @BennettJohnT, Trump calls out Heller for not backing health care plan. “He wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he?” #nvsen
@debrajsaunders: Trump to Heller, other reluctant Rs: No more Mr. Nice Guy.
@dcexaminer: Trump asks Dean Heller if “he wants to remain a senator” while sitting next to him
@ChadPergram: At WH mtg Trump suggests to Heller if he wants to remain a sen he should get on board. Doesn’t call out hard noes Capito/Murkowski/Collins
@ABCPolitics: Trump on Sen. Heller, who opposed initial Senate health care bill: “Look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he?”
@thehill: Trump pressures Heller on healthcare vote, jokes about whether he wants to “remain a senator”
@NBCPolitics: President Trump warns Senator Heller over health care defection: “He wants to remain a senator, right?”