GOP Senator: Not ‘Much Worry’ Of A Trump Presidency If He Can’t Change

GOP Senator: Not ‘Much Worry’ Of A Trump Presidency If He Can’t Change

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Jeff Flake said on Tuesday that Republican nominee Donald Trump will not be able to win the presidential election, and should not win it, if he maintains the positions that he holds now, including his harsh stance on immigration.

In an interview, Flake said he still hopes Trump will change enough that the Republican senator from Arizona will be able to vote for the candidate in the Nov. 8 election.

But, Flake said, “It’s a slim hope.”

He said that as things stand, Trump will even have difficulty clinching the state of Arizona if the nominee, who has called for building a wall on the border with Mexico, does not develop a more “serious” immigration policy.

Arizona last voted for a Democratic presidential candidate two decades ago.

“Given the positions that he’s taken, if he continues to maintain those positions, if he continues to hold to the statements he has made, I don’t think he can win the presidency, nor do I think he should if he is unwilling to change,” Flake said of Trump.

“There is a big difference between winning a primary, getting what, 14 million votes, and getting 65 million votes that you’re going to need to win the presidency. In between those two numbers you encounter a number of swing voters, independents, who simply don’t cotton to the kind of message that he has been delivering. And that’s just the reality,” Flake said.

Flake, 53, has long been one of Trump‘s more vocal critics on Capitol Hill.Trump‘s inflammatory remarks about immigrants have been a particular problem for Flake, whose Southwestern border state has a large Hispanic population. Flake was among eight senators who proposed comprehensive immigration reform in 2013.

Flake memorably told a reporter last month that he would not be attending the Republican convention to nominate Trump because he had to mow the lawn.

Flake told Vanity Fair magazine in July: “I don’t think that there’s much worry of a Trump presidency if he doesn’t change.”

But he also insists that he will not vote for the Democratic candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Flake, a member of the House of Representatives for 12 years before being elected to the Senate in 2012, said Arizonans are more realistic and pragmatic on immigration than Trump.

Right now, Flake said, Arizona is almost a “toss-up” in the presidential election.

Flake does not have to run for re-election to the Senate until 2018. His fellow Arizona senator, John McCain, is up for re-election this year, and faces both primary and general election challengers. McCain has said he backs Trump.

Flake said he respected Senator Susan Collins of Maine, another Republican, who said in an opinion article published on Monday that she definitely would not vote for Trump. Flake said he was not prepared to follow Collins’ example, which did not set off a stampede of Trump repudiations.

(Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Jonathan Oatis)

Photo: U.S. Republican Senator Jeff Flake speaks to reporters as U.S. Democrat Senator Tom Udall listens during a news conference in Havana November 11, 2014.  REUTERS/Enrique De La Osa 


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Trump Touts New Push To 'Repeal And Replace' Obamacare

The late Sen. John McCain gives thumbs down to Affordable Care Act repeal in July 2017

Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

Donald Trump is once again living in the past, trying to resurrect a Republican political debacle that even the Freedom Caucus has abandoned: Obamacare repeal. “The cost of Obamacare is out of control, plus, it’s not good Healthcare. I’m seriously looking at alternatives," he spewed on Truth Social on Saturday.

Keep reading...Show less
George Santos
Rep. George Santos
George Santos

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson on Monday afternoon said he has spoken toRep. George Santos, suggesting the embattled and indicted New York Republican might resign rather than face an impending expulsion vote he’s likely to lose. But over the holiday weekend, Santos suggested he was not going to go without a fight, as he appeared to take a page out of another embattled Republican’s book: former Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC).

Keep reading...Show less
{{ }}