Jeff Flake, the outgoing Arizona senator and outspoken Trump critic, gets asked all the time whether he’s planning to run for president in 2020.
He hasn’t said yes — but then again, he hasn’t said no, either. What he HAS done is talk — a lot — about reinventing the Republican party and restoring Conservative values.
A few days after the midterm elections, Flake had a sit-down interview with reporters from Politico and the Hill. Once again, of course, the reporters asked him whether he was considering a White House run in 2020. Flake indicated that he was considering it: “I’ve not ruled it out. I’ve not ruled it in. Just, somebody needs to run on the Republican side,” he responded.
Here’s what you need to know:
Flake Says ‘Someone’ Needs to Bring ‘Decency’ Back to the Republican Party
Flake often criticizes the direction that the Republican party is headed. He even wrote a book last year, lamenting the fact that, in his opinion, there’s been an upsurge in xenophobia, nationalism, and populism within the GOP. But when it comes down to it, Flake almost always votes with the president. According to a tally by the FiveThirtyEight blog, Flake votes along with the president’s position 84 percent of the time.
Take the recent confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Flake hemmed and hawed about which way he might vote. In the end, he voted with the Republican majority to confirm Kavanaugh. But he did make sure to delay the Senate vote on Kavanaugh by a week, so that he the FBI could carry out an investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh. Flake said that the delay was necessary to repair the divisions caused within the country by the fight over Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
On Friday, Flake talked to Politico about his values, again stressing the importance of bringing “decency” back to his party. “I hope somebody does [run], just to remind Republicans what it means to be conservative and what it means to be decent. We’ve got to bring that back,” Flake said. “You can whip up the base for a cycle or two but it wears thin. Anger and resentment are not a governing philosophy.”
Flake Says He Left the Senate Because He Didn’t Want to Stand with Trump
Flake didn’t run for re-election this year. Back in 2017, the Arizona senator announced in a speech on the Senate floor that he would not be seeking re-election.
Flake addressed the president in his speech, saying that there was a new “coarseness” in American politics which came “from the top.” He 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. They are not normal.”
On Friday, Flake talked about his decision with Politico. He confirmed that he isn’t planning on running for the Senate in the future, even if his seat opens up. And he stressed that he had left the Senate because he didn’t want to “stand on a stage” with President Trump again. Flake said, “The price to win a Republican primary was to stand on a stage with the president over and over while he insults minorities and ridicules both Republicans and Democrats and Americans. I couldn’t do that.”