WH press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responds to the news that Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker will not be seeking re-election in 2018 by saying that the president "wants people to be in the Senate that are committed to actually moving the ball down the field."
"I don't think these two individuals necessarily have been as focused on that," she added.
She also noted: "I think that they were not likely to be re-elected. And I think that shows that the support is more behind this President than it is those two individuals."
QUESTION: Since the president's taken office, as you know, two Republican senators, Senator Corker of Tennessee and Senator Flake of Arizona, have both announced they're not running for re-election.
In your view, is the president remaking the Republican party? And if he's doing that, is he making it in a positive way?
SANDERS: I wouldn't say necessarily he's remaking it, because you have a couple of individuals that are no longer running for office. Look, he's got a great relationship with a number of Republican senators. He's going to continue working with them, and make sure we get things done for the American people.
He wants people to be in the Senate that are committed to actually moving the ball down the field, and I don't think these two individuals necessarily have been as focused on that. And the president wants to get things done, and that's what we're going to work through the fall.
QUESTION: Sarah, I understand that neither of these two senators we're talking about now have been allies, to say the least, of the president. But this has been an extraordinary series of attacks on the President from major figures in the Republican Party. Not typical political attacks, I mean saying that the President is responsible for the debasement of the nation, that a breakdown of civility is the fault (ph) of the president, and that enough is enough. We've seen similar remarks from John McCain, the party's former nominee.
In any of this, does any of this make the president pause and wonder if he is doing anything wrong? That he bears any responsibility for what these senators are saying is a breakdown of civility in our country.
SANDERS: Look, I think the voters of these individual senator states are speaking in pretty loud volumes. I think that they were not likely to be re-elected. And I think that shows that the support is more behind this President than it is those two individuals.
QUESTION: Why is there so little -- why is there so little pushback from other Republican senators on this? I mean, Mitch McConnell is the -- is the Republican leader. Bob Corker is still a committee chairman. Should there be ...
SANDERS: Look, Leader McConnell stood with the president just last week here at the White House and talked about how they were working together, how they were getting things done, how they were focused on actually moving the agenda forward. And so I think that's a pretty clear indication of where his support lies and what we're working to do.
QUESTION: Sarah, if I could just pick up on what John was talking about. One of the criticisms from Senator Corker today was the idea that history will most remember President Trump for debasing a country. But here in Senator Flake's remarks, the idea that he seemed to be writing it for history.
How do you think history will view not only the remarks of the two Senators today, but also former President Bush last week?
SANDERS: I certainly think history is going to look at this president as somebody who helped to defeat ISIS, who built an economy that was stronger than it's been in several decades, who brought unemployment to a 16-year low, who's created over 1.7 million jobs since being elected.
I think those are the things that people actually care about, not some petty comments from Senator Corker and Senator Flake. And I think they're a lot more concerned about the big policy initiatives that this president is driving, including historic tax cuts, which we're going to get done by the end of this year, and then start focusing on some other things. Those are the things this president will be remembered by, and I think those are pretty good, certainly good facts, and ones we're happy to stand by.