Now playing
00:44
Trump calls out McCain for health care vote
CNN
Now playing
01:44
Sasse: I regularly think about leaving GOP
Senate TV
Now playing
01:57
Sen. Sasse: Trump's call to Putin weakened US
sasse tweet
CNN
sasse tweet
Now playing
01:52
GOP senator on tariff threats: This is nuts
CNN
Now playing
01:04
GOP official quits over Trump-Putin summit
GREAT FALLS, MT - JULY 05:  U.S. president Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Four Seasons Arena on July 5, 2018 in Great Falls, Montana. President Trump held a campaign style 'Make America Great Again' rally in Great Falls, Montana with thousands in attendance.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
GREAT FALLS, MT - JULY 05: U.S. president Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Four Seasons Arena on July 5, 2018 in Great Falls, Montana. President Trump held a campaign style 'Make America Great Again' rally in Great Falls, Montana with thousands in attendance. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:08
Trump mocks George H.W. Bush at campaign rally
Rep. Mark Sanford on New Day
CNN
Rep. Mark Sanford on New Day
Now playing
01:57
Lawmaker: Trump sent chilling message to GOP
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 25:  Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) announces that he is retiring from the House and stepping down as Speaker at the end of October during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol September 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. After 25 years in Congress and five years as Speaker, Boehner said he decided this morning to step down after contemplation and prayer.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 25: Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) announces that he is retiring from the House and stepping down as Speaker at the end of October during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol September 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. After 25 years in Congress and five years as Speaker, Boehner said he decided this morning to step down after contemplation and prayer. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:24
Boehner: Trump presidency a complete disaster
CNN
Now playing
01:23
Sen.: Trump claim embarrasses GOP colleagues
US President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the Make America Great Again Rally on March 10, 2018 in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm        (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the Make America Great Again Rally on March 10, 2018 in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:35
Here's Trump's 2020 campaign slogan
senator flake 03142018
CNN
senator flake 03142018
Now playing
02:14
Sen. Flake calls for a GOP challenger to Trump
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 24:  Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill after announcing he will not seek re-election October 24, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 24: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill after announcing he will not seek re-election October 24, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
01:04
Flake slams Trump's tweets, defends Schumer
Flake
CNN
Flake
Now playing
01:21
Flake: More Republicans will be speaking out
Now playing
01:56
GOP senator won't say if he backs Trump 2020 bid
CNN
Now playing
01:05
Trump: Flake smart for not seeking re-election
Now playing
01:15
Lawmaker: Don't want my kids talking like Trump
Getty Images/Win McNamee/Mark Wilson
Now playing
01:31
Bob Corker's biggest Trump criticisms
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill May 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Senators from both parties are scrambling to react to President Donald Trump's surprise dismissal of FBI Director James Comey.
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill May 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Senators from both parties are scrambling to react to President Donald Trump's surprise dismissal of FBI Director James Comey.
Now playing
02:05
Trump wrong on Bob Corker and Iran Deal
Chip Somodevilla/Saul Loeb/Getty Images
Now playing
01:10
Trump to McCain: 'I fight back'

Story highlights

"Luther's going to win easily," Trump said

Trump also blasted McCain at the Friday night rally

(CNN) —  

President Donald Trump sought to make the case to Alabama voters Friday night that Sen. Luther Strange is more electable than his opponent, Roy Moore.

At a raucous rally in Huntsville, the President warned that that former judge Moore could lose the state’s Senate special election to a Democrat – but if Strange, who already holds the Senate seat, wins Tuesday’s primary, “it’s over.”

With the endorsement, Trump took what he admitted was a risk – pumping his own political capital into an effort to carry Strange to victory, even though a Moore win could put a dent in Trump’s influence.

Trump said he “might’ve made a mistake, I’ll be honest,” by wading into the race.

But, he said, “Luther’s going to win easily and Roy is going to have a hard time winning” a December general election against Democrat Doug Jones.

Trump’s comments about electability came as he acknowledged that Senate Republicans can’t spare a single vote. He pointed to Sen. John McCain’s announcement Friday that he opposes the latest GOP health care bill – effectively ending the party’s chances for now at repealing Obamacare.

His decision to visit Alabama and campaign for Strange, Trump said, was all about loyalty.

The President bluntly told the crowd that when he was handed a list of 10 senators he needed to lobby to support his health care effort, some insisted on dinners and meetings with their families before Trump could win them over.

But when he called Strange, the new senator appointed in February to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions, said, in Trump’s retelling: “Sir, don’t even waste your time talking anymore. You have a lot of business to do. You have my vote.”

Trump said he told first lady Melania Trump about the call. “I went home and told my wife, that’s the coolest thing that’s happened to me in six months.”

Trump also defended Strange against Moore’s accusations that he is doing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s bidding, saying that Strange has only known McConnell for months. The charges have stemmed from a pro-McConnell super PAC spending $9 million to boost Strange.

Trump and McConnell have butted heads as Republicans’ frustration has mounted over the party’s failure to repeal Obamacare and enact other Trump agenda items, with Trump publicly blasting the Senate leader on Twitter repeatedly in recent weeks.

At the rally, Trump said he knew Strange had trailed in the polls. But he said: “I think you’re going to come back and you’re going to kick everyone’s ass and you’re going to be great. You’re going to be great. Because he got saddled with things he should not have gotten saddled with.”

Still, Trump’s hedges – at one point he said he’d support Moore if he wins the primary – reflected a White House still cautious about Strange’s chances against a figure with decades-long relationships in Alabama politics. Moore, who campaigns on placing Christianity at the center of public life and opposing LGBT rights, was twice ousted as state Supreme Court chief justice – first for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument then for refusing to recognize the US Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

Health care struggles

00:44 - Source: CNN
Trump calls out McCain for health care vote

Trump blasted McCain at the Friday night rally, calling the Arizona Republican’s choice to oppose the latest GOP effort to repeal Obamacare “honestly terrible” at a rally in Alabama.

Recalling the list of 10 “no” votes he was told he needed to court, Trump said, “John McCain was not on the list, so that was an unexpected thing. Terrible. Honestly terrible.”

Trump added that McCain’s “last campaign was all about repeal and replace, repeal and replace.”

“We’re going to do it eventually,” Trump vowed, referring to his pledge to repeal former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Trump added that he still believes Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who like McCain has said he will vote against the bill, could change his mind.

“I haven’t given up on him, because I think he may come around, OK? Wouldn’t it be ironic if he took John McCain’s place – and they definitely do not like each other. Wouldn’t that be ironic?” Trump said. “That would be very ironic, for those of you that know the inner workings of the Senate.”

And he railed against the Senate’s “crazy” 60-vote threshold to pass legislation, complaining that – with Republicans controlling only 52 seats – it’s impossible to pass bills. He said the GOP can pass bills under special budget reconciliation rules that require just 51 votes, “but that’s a trick. That’s just a trick.”

’He’s fired!’

The rally had some of Trump’s hallmarks. He claimed that audience members would be “turning over your rifle” if Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election. And when the audience chanted “lock her up,” he responded that they should talk to Sessions about it.

Trump also said he’d like to see NFL owners respond to players kneeling during the National Anthem by saying: “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!”

“For a week, (that owner would) be the most popular person in this country,” Trump said, “because that’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect for everything we stand for.

And he complained about NFL efforts to enforce penalties designed to prevent concussions. “They’re ruining the game, right?” he said. “They’re ruining the game.”

’Russia did not help me’

Trump called the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election “one of the great hoaxes,” and said it is an “excuse” for Democrats after they lost the contest.

“Honestly, it’s the thing they did best,” Trump said of Democrats. “They did a rotten job of running, but they convinced people of this hoax. That was probably the thing that they did best, but it was one great hoax.”

He added: “No, Russia did not help me, that I can tell you, OK?”

Trump also bragged about his victory, touting his focus on electoral votes rather than the popular vote, and said he hopes Clinton runs again in 2020.

“If Hillary runs again in four years, which I hope she does, we’re going to teach her to spend more time in Michigan. We’re going to teach her to go to Wisconsin,” Trump said.

’Little Rocket Man’

02:15 - Source: CNN
Trump on N. Korea threat: You are protected