‘I Couldn’t Sleep At Night Having To Support Trump’, Sen. Jeff Flake Says
Sen. Jeff Flake, who made headlines this week when he announced that he would not seek reelection in 2018, said he “couldn’t sleep at night” having to support or condone the actions and behavior of President Donald Trump, and that he was confident the Republican Party would eventually distance itself from the president’s brand of politics.
“I couldn’t sleep at night having to embrace the president or condoning his behavior or being okay with some of his positions,” Flake told The Washington Post in an interview published Saturday. “I just couldn’t do it – it was never in the cards.”
The Arizona Republican has been one of Trump’s most ardent Republican critics, refusing to endorse him during his 2016 election bid and writing in a book published this summer that he felt the GOP had caved to the real estate mogul’s populist scheme.
Flake said he knew his criticism of Trump would cost him. But he couldn’t stop himself.
“I knew that when I spoke out at that time that I was out of step with a lot of the Republican primary voters, but I felt that I had to do it,” Flake said. “I had hoped – and I still hope and I’m confident at some point – that the fever will break. But it just became more and more apparent that it certainly wasn’t going to break by next year.”
Flake faced a tough primary challenge from Kelli Ward, a former Arizona state senator and an ally of Trump, who has already received the endorsement of former White House chief strategist and Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon. Polling data showed Flake likely losing the GOP primary next year.
And even if he survived the primary, neither Flake nor others in his orbit deny that the same polling showed he might also have lost the general election to his presumed Democratic opponent, popular Phoenix-area congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema.