In a "VIP" conference call arranged by the Nevada Republican Party on Wednesday ahead of President Donald Trump's visit to the state, Heller - who is running for re-election against Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen - said the Senate would still likely confirm Kavanaugh to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy despite the sexual harassment allegations.
Among the GOP, "I think everybody was angry with the fact that Dean Heller distanced himself", said Lisa Mayo-DeRiso, a Republican campaign consultant in Las Vegas.
"Eighty percent of what this president has done has been very, very good, very positive", Heller said.
"They've delayed it a week already", he said, and "have to get on with it".
Thank you for signing up for the Top 3 Newsletter.
"To take a man like this and besmirch", Trump said to Fox News personality Sean Hannity of the allegations that have rocked his second Supreme Court pick.
"The other 20 percent ... he has a reality show".
Heller drew the president's ire a year ago when he held up Republican efforts to repeal former President Barack Obama's signature health care law.
"They are lousy politicians and their policies are bad", said Trump, in only his second rally as president in a state he lost two years ago, "but they are good at sticking together and resisting, that's what they do".
Heller is fighting to keep his Senate seat in the 2018 midterm elections this November.
"He's spent the past year folding to President Trump instead of standing up for Nevada, and that's why he's going to lose", Rosen spokesman Stewart Boss said in a statement. I mean, you could also say, when did this all happen, what's going on?
But Heller has always been one of President Donald Trump's most enthusiastic cheerleaders for a far-right reshaping of the judiciary. "We got a little hiccup here with the Kavanaugh nomination, we'll get through this and we'll get off to the races", he added, according to the Independent.