Trump holds fundraiser for NJ congressman at his golf club

Posted: Updated:

By MICHAEL CATALINI
Associated Press

BEDMINSTER (AP) - President Donald Trump is holding a major fundraiser for a Republican New Jersey congressman who helped revive the GOP push to dismantle the health care law.

U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur said Sunday's event at Trump's New Jersey golf club is the first personal fundraiser the president has hosted for a member of Congress and his campaign expects it to be their single biggest ever, topping a previous record of $100,000.

MacArthur is embracing Trump even after a bruising week that saw former FBI Director James Comey testify to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee that he believed the president was telling him to end an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Trump's lawyer has denied the charge.

MacArthur, a wealthy, two-term incumbent and former insurance executive, said in an interview with The Associated Press that he's honored the president is holding the event on his behalf.

And he's not backing away from the Republican president who lost in his state but beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the southern New Jersey district in 2016.

"We need for our president to succeed and for the people that seem to want to just attack, attack, attack, my message would be: Honor your country and give this president a chance to succeed," MacArthur said, adding that he hadn't watched the Comey hearing and didn't have anything to say about it.

The fundraiser comes ahead of the 2018 midterm elections when MacArthur's 3rd District seat, which stretches from the Philadelphia suburbs in the west, across the Pine barrens to the shore in Ocean County, will be up for election along with the rest of the GOP-led House and a third of the Republican-controlled Senate.

MacArthur is under political pressure because of his role in helping pass the overhaul, which is stalled in the Senate where lawmakers are working on their own version. He faced angry voters during a five-hour town hall in his district last month and confronts regular protesters at his district office, who recently conducted a "die-in" at his Marlton district office.

MacArthur said the demonstrations and town halls - he's held two this year - help him understand where voters are coming from.

"I genuinely empathize with them. I need for them to understand - this is why I stayed there for five hours - I am trying to fix a problem," he said.

Trump's sagging job approval isn't reason enough for MacArthur to shun him, said Ben Dworkin, the director of the Rebovich Center for New Jersey Politics, mostly because as the president, he's a major draw for donors. The fundraiser, which Trump himself is expected to attend, suggests donations from $5,400 to $100,000.

"He's still the president," Dworkin said.

MacArthur was one of only two Republicans among five from the state to back the House health care legislation, which would dismantle President Barack Obama's signature law.

He helped the measure gain support from conservative colleagues by writing an amendment that would allow states to get federal waivers to the requirement that insurers charge healthy and sick customers the same premiums. The change would be for people who let their coverage lapse. MacArthur said those people would be covered by high-risk pools.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated the House bill would leave 23 million fewer people with insurance by 2026.

___

Contact Catalini at https://www.twitter.com/mikecatalini

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • Replicas of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Frescoes at Oculus

    Replicas of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Frescoes at Oculus

    Replicas of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Frescoes on display at Oculus.

    Replicas of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Frescoes on display at Oculus.

  • Grenfell Tower Fire in London

    Grenfell Tower Fire in London

    Friday, June 16 2017 12:45 PM EDT2017-06-16 16:45:24 GMT

    Photos from a massive fire at Grenfell Tower in London. Flames engulfed the 24-story tower on June 14, 2017 and killed at least 12 people.  Frightened residents banged on windows for help and dropped children from windows.

    Photos from a massive fire at Grenfell Tower in London. Flames engulfed the 24-story tower on June 14, 2017 and killed at least 12 people.  Frightened residents banged on windows for help and dropped children from windows.

  • Photos: One Love Manchester Benefit Concert

    Photos: One Love Manchester Benefit Concert

    Wednesday, June 7 2017 12:01 PM EDT2017-06-07 16:01:18 GMT

    Ariana Grande paid tribute to the city of Manchester, England, on Sunday with an energetic, all-star concert that raised millions for victims of a suicide bombing that tore through her last performance in the city nearly two weeks ago.

    Ariana Grande paid tribute to the city of Manchester, England, on Sunday with an energetic, all-star concert that raised millions for victims of a suicide bombing that tore through her last performance in the city nearly two weeks ago.

sorry to interrupt
your first 5 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 5 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 5 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login, create an account or subscribe to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."