Flake to 'Morning Joe': "I Could Not Win In A Republican Primary, That's The Bottom Line"


Appearing on Morning Joe a day after he announced he will not seek another term in a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said he would not be able to win the Republican primary, "that's the bottom line." Flake complained, calling Republican primary voters "a subset of a subset."

Flake used his time on the Senate floor to admonish President Trump and warn what will become of the Republican party.

Shortly after his Morning Joe interview, President Trump responded on Twitter: "The reason Flake and Corker dropped out of the Senate race is very simple, they had zero chance of being elected. Now act so hurt & wounded!"

(UPDATE: Another Trump tweet directed at Flake below)

"The bottom line is that if I were to run a campaign that I could be proud of and where I didn't have to cozy up to the president and his positions or his behavior, I could not win in a Republican primary," Flake acknowledged. "That's the bottom line. It's not that you just have to meet with the president on policy. You can't question his behavior and still be a Republican in good standing, apparently, in a Republican primary. So, you know, in poll after poll, you'll see that majority of Republican primary voters -- that's kind of a subset of a subset -- are firmly behind the president's policies."

Flake was baffled that "standing with the president" is the most important policy item with GOP primary voters. Flake said this is not unique to Arizona.

"Not just that, if you ask them as a whole what their most important policy item is, it's are you standing with the president? And they take any criticism of the president as somehow something that's not conservative. And that's what's got to change. It really does. And I hope to be able to the next 14 months speak out continually. I hope my colleagues do as well. We're entering a time we're normalizing behavior we shouldn't normalize and it's just not going to be good for the country," the Arizona Senator said.

Trump's tweets:

UPDATE: Later Wednesday morning Trump tweeted, "Jeff Flake, with an 18% approval rating in Arizona, said "a lot of my colleagues have spoken out." Really, they just gave me a standing O!"

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