Trump threatens Heller

Democrats have been getting a lot of mileage out of press photos of Dean Heller and Donald Trump laughing companionably at the White House. But the setting wasn’t all that friendly.

During the meeting, Trump told Heller, referencing health care, “You weren’t there. But you’re going to be, you’re going to be.” Then, speaking for the benefit of the press, Trump added, “Look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he?”

The Trump White House has been trolling for an opponent to run against GOP U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, whose standing in opinion surveys is very low. Two Arizona Republicans say they have discussed the race with the White House.

The notion of a Republican president running his own candidates against fellow Republicans is fairly unusual. In 1970, in New York, President Nixon supported Conservative Party nominee James Buckley against Republican Charles Goodell, who had been appointed to replace the assassinated Robert Kennedy in the Senate. Buckley won a plurality of 38.7 percent against Goodell, Democrat Richard Ottinger and two minor candidates.