Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn met with Kellyanne Conway and other officials at the White House on Wednesday, a source familiar with the meeting told CNN.
The meeting came as Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker is said to be reconsidering retirement from the Senate, a move he announced last year as a public divide grew between him and President Donald Trump, who has labeled him “liddle Bob Corker” on Twitter.
Corker’s potential reversal would put pressure on Blackburn, who has announced she will run for the seat.
CNN’s John King reported on Sunday that GOP sources told CNN that Corker was having conversations with colleagues in recent days about whether he should reconsider his decision to leave Congress and not seek re-election this year.
Blackburn’s campaign suggested this week that she has no plans to step aside, setting the stage for a bruising primary should Corker decide to jump in the race.
Spokeswoman Andrea Bozek issued a forceful statement vouching for Blackburn’s chances in the general election.
“Anyone who thinks Marsha Blackburn can’t win the general election is just a plain sexist pig,” Bozek said.
It is unclear whether the White House will decide to weigh in, given Trump’s past feuds with Corker. But the source, who was briefed later on the meeting Wednesday, said some White House officials have privately encouraged Blackburn and told her to “keep her head up.”
Corker praised Trump during the election campaign, and in the wake of Trump’s 2016 victory, his name appeared on shortlists for secretary of state. But the relationship worsened as Corker publicly questioned Trump, including criticizing him after the President equated white supremacists with counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year.
The disagreement between the two grew, and Corker announced in September that he would not seek re-election this year.