Trump calls controlling Senate 'vital' after Kennedy's retirement

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Trump, at a North Dakota rally where he was campaigning against the state's sole incumbent Democrat, said Kennedy's retirement added a new urgency to increasing the number of GOP votes in the U.S. Senate.

"Instead she went to Washington and immediately joined Chuck - you know who Chuck is - and Nancy", he told a crowd of almost 6,000 at a Fargo hockey arena.

He accused Heitkamp of working hand-in-hand with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Pelosi. The California congresswoman told people to "push back on them", but her remarks drew scorn from Republicans and Democrats alike.

Mr. Trump said he needed more Republicans in Congress, especially in the narrowly-divided Senate where he will soon seek the confirmation of a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. "It means the nominee must meet with senators, have a hearing and receive a thorough review of their record - just as we did with Justice Gorsuch, who I supported - which is critical for someone who could take a seat on the highest court in our land". "It's one of most important things we can do".

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-ND, speaks at the 2018 North Dakota Republican Party Convention in Grand Forks, N.D., April 7, 2018. Heidi Heitkamp, although she is a moderate who strays at times from Democratic positions.

She trailed Mr. Cramer by 4 points in a Mason-Dixon survey two weeks ago, which is a sobering poll number for the first-term senator.

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The rally also comes the day after Trump claimed "profound vindication" following the Supreme Court's ruling upholding his controversial travel ban. In addition to the announcement of Kennedy's retirement, two candidates he had endorsed, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and Rep. Dan Donovan, of NY, prevailed in primaries Tuesday.

Rasmussen confirmed to ABC News that Cramer will be attending President Trump's rally Wednesday. It included a review of his accomplishments, from the booming economy to get-tough trade policies to rebuilding the military and reviving the space program.

"Their blue wave is really sputtering pretty badly", he said.

Mike Murphy, a GOP strategist, said having a Supreme Court retirement and confirmation in a midterm election year will make a "red-hot" election year even hotter - especially because a fifth consistently liberal justice could bring hot-button issues like abortion and gay rights onto the court's docket.

Then the president begged Democrats to "please, please" keep Pelosi as their party leader 'and please keep Maxine Waters on the air as your face and your mouthpiece for the Democrat Party'.

Heitkamp, who was previously praised by Trump as a "good woman" before he campaigned against her in North Dakota on Wednesday, said following the meeting that she's still willing to hear him out on his court choice.

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