President Donald Trump hosted a bipartisan group of senators for lunch Thursday at the White House to discuss their potential support for Neil Gorsuch, the President’s Supreme Court pick.
Four of the Democratic senators who attended the lunch — Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Jon Tester of Montana — are up for re-election in 2018 in states Trump won in 2016.
Manchin and Heitkamp, addressing reporters after the meeting, tried to avoid questions about whether it bothered them that Trump questioned the service record of a Senate colleague.
But when pressed, Manchin offered a simple “oh yeah” when asked if it bothered him.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who is up for reelection in 2018, did not attend Thursday’s lunch with Trump, due to a previously scheduled constituent meeting.
Trump and McCaskill are now working to set up a phone call instead, the senator’s spokeswoman said.
Sens. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, and Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, also attended the meeting.
Trump also looked to shore up support for Gorsuch within his own party Thursday by inviting GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, John Cornyn of Texas, Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who all attended.
–CNN, Dan Merica