(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) announced Tuesday that he is not seeking re-election, a decision the White House said is “probably a good move.”
When asked if President Donald Trump has any reaction to Flake’s decision, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she hadn’t spoken with the president directly since Flake’s announcement, “but I think that based on previous statements and certainly based on the lack of support that he has from the people of Arizona, it's probably a good move.”
As CNSNews.com previously reported, Trump has publicly criticized Flake in the past, tweeting in August, for instance, that Flake was “weak on borders, crime and a non-factor in the Senate” and “toxic.”
In a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday announcing his retirement, Flake said, “We must never regard as ‘normal’ the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country - the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve.”
“None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal. We must never allow ourselves to lapse into thinking that this is just the way things are now. If we simply become inured to this condition, thinking that this is just politics as usual, then heaven help us,” Flake said.
“Without fear of the consequences and without consideration of the rules of what is politically safe or palatable, we must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal,” Flake added.
During the briefing Tuesday, Sanders was asked about the president’s feud with Flake and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).
“We have two Republican senators now, just today -- Senators Corker and Flake -- calling the president's behavior unacceptable and dangerous, saying that he regularly tells untruths. Senator Flake just called on his fellow Republicans to end what he called complicity and accommodation. I'm wondering, what's the White House's response to this criticism coming from two Republican senators?” a reporter asked.
“I think that we support the American people on this. I think that the people both in Tennessee and Arizona supported this president, and I don’t think that the numbers are in the favor of either of those two senators in their states. And so I think that this was probably the right decision,” Sanders said.
When asked why the president was feuding with Corker given concern among some on Capitol Hill that he should be focused on his agenda of getting tax reform through, Sanders said, “Look, the president is focused on doing this. That's what he spent the majority of his day talking about.
“He went to the Hill and met with Republican senators to talk about tax reform, to push his legislative agenda. That's what he's spending a good bit of this week doing and will continue doing next week until we get the job done,” she said.
Sanders also reminded reporters that the president’s “a fighter” who hits back when he gets hit. She also suggested that Corker may be trying to get “a headline or two on his way out the door.”