Tags: jeff flake | retirement | reelection | 2020 race | long way off

Flake Cagey on White House Plans: 2020 'A Long Way Off'

(CNN/Twitter)

By    |   Wednesday, 25 October 2017 09:12 AM

Sen. Jeff Flake, following a blistering attack on President Donald Trump while announcing his retirement Tuesday afternoon, said in two different interviews Wednesday that a 2020 presidential race is not part of his immediate plans, but did not explicitly rule a future race out.

"That is not on my radar screen," the Arizona Republican told CNN "New Day" co-host Alisyn Camerota. "That's a long way off. I'm focused on my work in the Senate. I have another good 14 months."

But when Camerota pressed him, reminding him that "2020 is not that long off," and asked him if the thought to challenging Trump for the White House, Flake responded that he hasn't "entertained that thought for very long, no."

Flake also told ABC "Good Morning America" anchor George Stephanopoulos that he plans to concentrate on his next 14 months in the Senate, and "making sure we get some good policy."

"There are some things that I want to accomplish in the short term," Flake said, including working across the aisle with Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine on legislation requiring authorization to take place before the use of military force, as well as issues with DACA.

But when Stephanopoulos pushed him on a run for the White House, he replied, "You know, that's a long way away," Flake told him. "We'll deal with that when it comes to it."

Flake announced Tuesday afternoon he will step aside in January 2019, which came one month after Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., announced his own retirement. Both men cited their disagreements with Trump and how he conducts himself as one reason why they will depart Washington.

Both also drew attention on Tuesday, with Flake explaining his decision in a passionate speech from the Senate floor. Corker, meanwhile, in a series of hallway interviews in the Senate's corridors, denounced Trump's frequent attacks and behavior.

Flake, on CNN, commented that he believes the nation has reached a "tipping point where we don't continue to normalize by being silent on the kind of behavior we've seen. That's why I felt it was important to give the speech and I hope we move in a different direction."

He also thinks his colleagues will start speaking out against Trump as well.

"We're nine months into the administration," Flake said. "Those who are hoping to see a pivot, I think, have realized that's not going to come. This has the potential to do real damage, particularly on the foreign stage with regard to the agreements we have, trade arrangements that will affect our economy and geopolitics as well. These things have lasting meaning. That's why Bob Corker has been so concerned and I share those concerns."

Camerota asked what it will take for people who want to remain in office to speak out.

"I can tell you if we don't get some type of tax reform, not just tax cuts but tax reform, there's going to be great disappointment, and people will say you no longer can just blame the Congress," Flake said. " I do think we're entering a time now we've been in the administration long enough, there's always been a honeymoon period an administration enjoys and people give a little slack. We're coming to a point now we have to get some big things done."

Flake said he also does not feel like an outsider with his stance on Trump, as he has often worked with presidents from both parties on policy issues.

"That's the way it use to be," he said. "That's the way it needs to be in the future instead of this personalized tweeting against members you don't like or Gold Star families you want to have an argument with. That's not normal behavior. That is ahistoric. We have to recognize that and stand up before that behavior becomes normalized."

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Sen. Jeff Flake, following a blistering attack on President Donald Trump while announcing his retirement Tuesday afternoon, said in two different interviews Wednesday that a 2020 presidential race is not part of his immediate plans, but did not explicitly rule a future race...
jeff flake, retirement, reelection, 2020 race, long way off
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2017-12-25
Wednesday, 25 October 2017 09:12 AM
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