Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake isn’t seeking re-election in 2018 — but says he or another “decent” Republican may just have a shot at the presidency in two years’ time.
The senator joined CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper on Sunday morning, discussing the firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and other controversies arising from President Donald Trump’s White House. Flake, an ardent anti-Trump lawmaker who’s fiercely opposed the president on some issues, said he hasn’t yet ruled out taking on Trump in the 2020 Republican primaries.
“People want to remember the Republican Party as the decent party, and it is not right now … I don’t know who will step up in the end, I hope somebody does,” Flake said. “I’m not ruling it out but I certainly think the odds are long that I would do it.”
The Republican Party needs strong and committed leaders, not weak people such as @JeffFlake, if it is going to stop illegal immigration.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2016
As he ends his tenure in the Senate, Flake suffers from low approval ratings in his home state — a fact Trump has repeatedly used to discredit him each time the senator attacks the president. Meanwhile, he admits the president would be a tough challenger if the general election were held today; but says a Democratic takeover of either House in 2018 could easily change that.
“Certainly right now no one would defeat the president, but two years from now we could have a completely different scenario,” the senator continued. “Nothing focuses the mind like a big election loss, and what might happen in the midterms is a big election loss.”
“This is the Trump party right now, I’m just not sure it will be two years from now,” he added.
Watch the interview above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
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