'Beyond Stupid': Ad Blitz Against Senator Under Fire

Pro-Trump PAC went after fellow Republican Dean Heller on health care
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2017 1:08 PM CDT
'Beyond Stupid': Ad Blitz Against Senator Under Fire
Sen. Dean Heller   (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

With the Senate GOP's plan to replace ObamaCare on hold, an ad campaign against one of the drama's high-profile players is drawing scrutiny. A super PAC that supports President Trump unleashed the campaign against Republican Dean Heller of Nevada after he announced that he opposed the measure, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The ads from America First Policies were unleashed with the permission of the White House, reports the New York Times, which says that Mitch McConnell called Trump's chief of staff, Reince Priebus, over the weekend to complain that they were "beyond stupid" on two fronts: They were hurting McConnell's ability to negotiate a deal and they made Heller's seat vulnerable to Democrats.

The issue came up during Trump's meeting with McConnell and other senators on Tuesday, and the Times says the president "laughed good-naturedly" upon hearing the complaints and suggested he got the message. Soon after, the ads were pulled. Politico reports that Heller himself was among those who addressed the subject at the meeting. Later, the super PAC explained that it pulled back because Heller's appearance at the White House suggested he was open to negotiating. ABC News notes that the campaign was the first by a PAC loyal to the president against a fellow Republican. Politico calls it "stunning," in part because Heller is viewed as one of the most vulnerable GOP senators up for re-election. (McConnell is trying to expedite the next revision of the health care bill.)

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