Flake Interested in Own Future, Not Protecting Mueller Probe, Trump Says
Arizona Republican has not ruled out challenging Trump in 2020
President Donald Trump lashed out Friday at retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, accusing the Arizona Republican of putting his own possible presidential ambitions ahead of actually protecting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
Flake said Thursday that he and Democratic Sen. Chris Coons would try to call up legislation designed to protect Mueller when the Senate returns for the lame-duck session next week. In a tweet about the bipartisan bill, Flake said, “After the firing of The AG, it is more important than ever to protect the Special Counsel.”
Trump, as he flew aboard Air Force One to Paris for the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, fired back a day later.
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“Jeff Flake(y) doesn’t want to protect the Non-Senate confirmed Special Counsel, he wants to protect his future after being unelectable in Arizona for the ‘crime’ of doing a terrible job!” the president tweeted.
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He ended the post, which included another nickname for a political foe, by calling Flake a “weak and ineffective guy!”
Jeff Flake(y) doesn’t want to protect the Non-Senate confirmed Special Counsel, he wants to protect his future after being unelectable in Arizona for the “crime” of doing a terrible job! A weak and ineffective guy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2018
Flake has yet to rule out a 2020 GOP primary challenge to the president.
The social media post was the second time in two days the president, who has been thinking about his 2020 re-election bid for months, has blasted Flake.
“In Jeff Flake’s case it’s me, pure and simple. I retired him,” Trump said during a Wednesday press conference when asked about a slew of GOP retirements he says hurt Republicans in Tuesday’s midterms.
“I’m very proud of it, I did the country a great service,” he said. “He is retired. I’d like to call it another word, but we’re going to treat him with great respect.”
The president, who watches hours of cable news each day, wound up going another route Friday.
Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.