President Donald Trump took aim at retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who has not yet ruled out the possibility of a Republican primary challenge in 2020, on Twitter on Thursday, mocking him for even thinking about running for office again:
How could Jeff Flake, who is setting record low polling numbers in Arizona and was therefore humiliatingly forced out of his own Senate seat without even a fight (and who doesn’t have a clue), think about running for office, even a lower one, again? Let’s face it, he’s a Flake!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2018
Flake, a frequent critic of the president, released excerpts on Wednesday night of his Thursday morning speech on the Senate floor. In them, he accused President Trump of providing “not grown-up leadership.”
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I plan to speak on the Senate floor tomorrow morning to discuss the administration’s protectionist policies and the importance of America’s leadership in the world. Here is some of what I intend to say: pic.twitter.com/ox8HX75lsY
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) June 6, 2018
Flake previously announced he will not seek re-election in the Senate because “there may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party” who is willing to challenge the president’s actions:
“The path that I would have to travel to get the Republican nomination is a path I’m not willing to take, and that I can’t in good conscience take. It would require me to believe in positions I don’t hold on such issues as trade and immigration and it would require me to condone behavior that I cannot condone.”
Speculation as to whether Flake may launch a presidential bid in 2020 began swirling after the senator traveled to the nation’s first primary state, New Hampshire, in March and lamented President Trump’s “degradation of the United States and her values” in a speech.
“I think that the Republicans want to be reminded what it means to be a traditional, decent Republican,” he said at the time.