Newly retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake said Wednesday he is not considering a 2020 presidential run.
Flake, who announced Tuesday he will not be running for re-election as he faced a likely uphill primary battle in his state of Arizona, told CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday, “That is not on my radar screen, that’s a long way off. I’m focused on my work in the Senate. I have another 14 months.”
When pressed further, Flake added, “I haven’t entertained that thought for very long, no.”
Flake added that he expects a number of his Republican colleagues will eventually join him in speaking out against President Donald Trump.
“Privately a number of my colleagues have expressed concern with the direction of our country and the behavior of our President. I think in the coming months, you’ll have more people stand up,” Flake said. “I think the cumulative weight of all of this, we realize we just can’t continue to normalize this type of behavior.”
Flake acknowledged that it’s “very difficult to be re-elected in the Republican Party right now, in Arizona in particular.
“It doesn’t matter the policies that you adopt or your votes — it’s if you’re with the President, and I can’t be with the President at all times,” he said. “I’m sorry, I think when the President is wrong, you have to call him out, and sometimes he’s wrong. And that’s what I tried to point out in the speech yesterday.”
During a blistering speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, Flake denounced the “complicity” of his own party in what he called an “alarming and dangerous state of affairs” under Trump and blamed the President for setting the tone. He additionally bemoaned the “coarsening” tenor of politics in the United States.