GOP senator: Trump is 'inviting' a 2020 primary challenge

Jeff Flake

President Donald Trump used part of his Tuesday night rambling diatribe in Arizona to chastise the state's GOP senators, one of whom foiled the president's plan to strip health care from millions.

But the next morning, the president took to Twitter to name Flake.

"I don't worry about it at all", Flake said at an event Monday in the Phoenix suburbs, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Trump again tweeted about Flake on Wednesday.

"Tax policy - I do believe the president's instincts are good on that", he said. That lawmaker who must not be named, the president emphasized, is "weak on borders". "Nobody wants me to talk about your other senator, who is weak on borders, weak on crimes, so I won't talk about him".

Trump didn't only allude to McCain in his comments, however. "But, I think that the way that - the direction he's headed right now, just kinda drilling down on the base rather than trying to expand the base - I think he's inviting one".

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"I think it's a mistake to personalize things in politics".

In the same tweet, he said he was glad that Kelli Ward, Flake's first official primary challenger, is running against him. "You know I gave a little cheer for that as well".

Can a Republican senator run against Trump and get re-elected? "It's going well. And what the president does, that's his prerogative", Flake told the newspaper. That's somebody else's. I just - I'm running my own campaign.

Speaking to Fox News on Tuesday, Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R) suggested a pardon is imminent. "That is what I have done with every president, Republican or Democrat". Jeff Flake's (R-AZ) primary challenger with a public rebuke of Flake in his own state.

He said he didn't know why he had problems getting along with Mr. Trump.

With Trump's bumpy tenure in office and sinking approval ratings, it's hard to predict how influential Trump will be with voters a year from now and Cox argues Flake's criticism of the president could wind up working in his favor. "I probably wouldn't be standing here, right?" he said at the rally when he went off-script.

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