Tags: Trump Administration | white house | pressure | jeff flake | trump | policies

White House Pressures Sen. Flake to Back Trump's Policies

Image: White House Pressures Sen. Flake to Back Trump's Policies
(AP)

By    |   Monday, 17 Jul 2017 09:19 AM

The White House has met with at least three people seen as primary challengers to Republican Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake in recent weeks, a sign of President Donald Trump's willingness to play hardball with congressmen who do not toe his line, Politico reported on Monday.

Flake, who is one of the most vulnerable Republicans facing reelection next year, is a Trump critic who refused to endorse him during the presidential election and is one of a handful of undecided GOP votes on the effort to repeal Obamacare.

Those who support Flake praise him as an independent-minded senator, but his detractors criticize him as a grandstander.

Trump has reportedly spoken at least twice since taking office with Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit, a top official on his 2016 campaign who is thinking about running for the Senate race.

White House officials have also held talks with Arizona GOP Chairman Robert Graham, who is also thinking of mounting a campaign, as well as with former state Sen. Kelli Ward, who has announced her bid.

Citizens United President David Bossie, who was also Trump's deputy campaign manager, reportedly told Graham that either he or DeWit would likely get substantial backing from conservatives should either enter the race amid indications that GOP donors have also been upset with Flake for not giving Trump enough support.

Larry Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, told azcentral that Flake is in some trouble, particularly for his bipartisan work on issues such as comprehensive immigration reform, because such centrism angers the GOP's conservative base without earning any reward from Democrats, who also seek to defeat him.

However, Politico reported that even as many conservative Republicans seek to defeat him, there is also hesitancy to antagonize the senator, whose support is needed for the president to push his agenda through Congress.

This is especially so, since such tactics would most likely increase tensions with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who recently has had several disagreements with the White House over political planning.

White House spokespersons refused to comment on any administration efforts to defeat Flake, while a spokesman for the senator also declined to comment but did point out that he has "voted with President Trump over 95 percent of the time this year."

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The White House has met with at least three people seen as primary challengers to Republican Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake in recent weeks, a sign of President Donald Trump's willingness to play hardball with congressmen who do not toe his line...
white house, pressure, jeff flake, trump, policies
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2017-19-17
Monday, 17 Jul 2017 09:19 AM
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