Is Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake considering a primary challenge to President Trump in 2020?
A frequent Trump critic who is retiring from the Senate this fall, the politician is hinting that we might see a Jeff Flake 2020 campaign. "It has not been in my plans to run for president, but I have not ruled it out," Flake he said in a speech in New Hampshire on Friday. "I hope that someone does run in the Republican primary, somebody to challenge the president. I think that the Republicans want to be reminded what it means to be a traditional, decent Republican."
The potential motivation behind a Jeff Flake 2020 bid
Flake has criticized Trump on multiple platforms: in his recent book, "The Conscience of a Conservative;" in a speech on the Senate floor; and in interviews. He announced his retirement from the Senate after it became clear Trump supporters would block him from re-election. Ironically, he has voted for Trump's policies 86% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight.
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Speaking Friday at the "Politics & Eggs" breakfast in Manchester, New Hampshire, a tradition among aspiring presidential candidates, Flake said, "The irony should not escape us here that someone whose name became known to us as a builder would have such a penchant for destruction,” calling Trump a "chaotic" president who has "no strategic brilliance" and has weakened the country's institutions.
There is a widespread view among Republicans that Trump will be challenged for the 2020 nomination. Gov. John Kasich is also mentioned as a possible contender. "I think there will be some primary," Steve Duprey, who represents New Hampshire at the Republican National Committee, told the Associated Press. "Whether it's a serious contender or a protest candidate that the president's team would have to take seriously, it's too early to tell." But, he added, "It's virtually impossible to beat an incumbent for the nomination."
Is Jeff Flake 2020 bid realistic?
One point in his Flake's favor: He has wealthy and powerful friends who could support his run, including billionaire Mark Cuban, who has said, "I'm a Jeff Flake fan."
In an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday, Flake said he wouldn't rule out a run as an independent. He said it would be difficult, but not impossible, to dislodge Trump from his base. "Not today, but two years from now, possibly. Things can unravel pretty fast," said Flake. "As soon as he's viewed as one who loses majorities in the House and the Senate, and there's no chance that someone in the 30s can win re-election, people might move on."