Former Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has been mostly silent since he left the Senate at the beginning of the year. But last week while in New York he attended a debate on whether or not the Republican party should re-nominate Trump in 2020.
CNN reports on what he had to say:
Flake, a longtime Trump critic who argued Thursday that the Republican Party should not support Trump in 2020, was asked if it is better for a Democrat to win the election if Trump is the Republican nominee.
“Yes … and this notion, this narrative that’s been built up, that Donald Trump is the only one that can cobble together the Electoral College and win is just a fallacy,” Flake replied at an Intelligence Squared debate in New York City. The organization bills itself as a “non-partisan, non-profit” group that hosts debates aimed at promoting various points of view.
“I think that four years is difficult enough to unravel some of the damage that has been done internationally to our role, to our leadership position. We cannot, should not go another four years,” the Arizona Republican said.
The debate was also attended by New York Times columnist/Never Trumper Bret Stephens, former Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach and Fox News contributor Liz Peek. Stephens agreed with Flake’s position on Trump, while Kobach and Peek disagreed with them.
Flake’s position on this issue isn’t exactly shocking, considering his prior comments on the issue of a second Trump term, and considering he’s also on record as contributing to the campaigns of a few Senate Democrats.
But seeing as though the 2020 presidential campaign season is kicking into high gear, it will be interesting to see if he continues to try and amplify his message about Republicans needing an “alternative” to Trump. Flake himself has said he has no plans to challenge Trump.
He’s floated names before like former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Never Trumper who hasn’t ruled out running for president as an independent candidate, but Flake hasn’t said who he would pick among the declared candidates already running on the Democratic side.
Because Flake is just the kind of Republican who strives not to offend “respectable” Democrats, I could see him endorsing Beto O’Rourke over any of the Senate candidates running. If he picked any one of his former Senate colleagues, they might get upset over him playing favorites with one of them. Flake wouldn’t want that. Plus Beto has a mythical reputation as a moderate, which would also appeal to Flake.
On the other hand, there is also this false perception that exists out there about Sen. Booker being the most moderate candidate of the Senators who are running. So Flake could conceivably latch on to his candidacy, too. Booker, in turn, is just the type of Democrat to ask a Republican to be his running mate, so I wouldn’t rule that out as a possibility, either.
In any event, if Flake does decide to continue ratcheting up the anti-Trump rhetoric it will probably only serve to help Trump.
—Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter.–