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

The Hill logo The Hill 6/28/2018 John Bowden
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President Trump took aim at North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (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.

"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 Pompeo'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 Cramer (R)


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