(CNSNews.com) -- When asked why Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) decided to retire from Congress this year after only one term, President Donald Trump said it was he who "retired" Flake and that this removal of Flake was "a great service" to the country.
At a White House press conference on Tuesday a reporter asked Trump, "You said that many of the retirements that happened in the House made it very difficult for you in this election cycle, and that it was because they were chairmans, there were chairmanships that were vacated. But Jeff Flake wasn’t a chairman of a committee, and Paul Ryan also retired this cycle. So why do you think that is? Whose fault is it that there were so many retirements?"
Trump said, "In Jeff Flake’s case, it’s me. Pure and simple. I retired him. I’m very proud of it. I did the country a great service."
He continued, "Go ahead. Give him a — (laughter). Give him a — he is retired. I’d like to call it another word, but we’re going to treat him with great respect. Go ahead."
The reporter said, "thank you," and then Trump paused and said, "Jeff Flake. That’s another beauty."
Flake became a U.S. senator in 2013 after winning the seat held by retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). Flake, a staunch critic of President Trump -- he once compared Trump to genocidal dictator Joseph Stalin -- announced in late 2017 that he would not run for reelection.