WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) announced his decision to not run for re-election Tuesday, and followed it with a series of parting shots at President Trump in a very Corker-esque fashion.
From Fox News:
“Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, facing a tough primary fight, announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election next year — while taking a parting shot on the Senate floor at President Trump for behavior he called “reckless, outrageous, and undignified.”
Without mentioning the president by name, Flake accused the Republican Party of having “given in or given up on the core principles in favor of a more viscerally satisfying anger and resentment … but anger and resentment are not a governing philosophy.”
Flake has had a tumultuous relationship with the Trump administration. In August, he criticized the president’s immigration policy in a New York Times opinion piece. The president tweeted in response that Flake was “WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in the Senate.”
Flake, 54, was elected to the Senate in 2012 after 12 years in the House of Representatives. But polls showed him trailing primary challenger Kelli Ward, a former state senator who is backed by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that “based on [Flake’s] previous statements and the lack of support he has in Arizona,” his decision to not seek re-election “is probably a good move.””
Flake is leaving because he was likely to lose his primary contest to a challenger from the right.
Though he campaigned in 2012 as a “secure the border first” candidate, but once Republicans had majorities in both chambers and Trump in the White House, the Arizona senator voted against funding a border wall and called Trump’s border wall plans “out there.”
So, Flake’s exit and corresponding barrage aimed at Trump is quite ironic: Trump was elected on a wave of discontent by voters frustrated with politicians that said one thing on the campaign trail, and did another when on Capitol Hill. Politicians just like Flake, apparently.
Flake was about to be a victim of his own political malleability – so he is bowing out and chastising Trump, and the frustrated voters that elected him, in the process.