Arizona Republican senator and prominent Donald Trump critic Jeff Flake believes the GOP must purge the presumptive nominee’s supporters after the election in order to survive.
In an interview with The New York Times published over the weekend, Flake said that many of Trump’s fans are motivated by racism and need to get the boot as soon as Trump, he hopes, goes down in flames.
“Those who want a Muslim ban, those who will disparage individuals or groups — yes we ought to, we need to [purge],” the senator told The Times.
He cited William F. Buckley’s famous purge of John Birch Society members from mainstream conservatism as a precedent, and believes it is necessary due to Trump’s lacking performance in the polls at the moment.
“You’ve got to hope that, if this race keeps going the way it looks to be going, that it’s enough of a jolt to wake people up and say we don’t want to be relegated to second place in every future presidential campaign,” Flake argued.
While the Arizona senator may want his party to be free of those who approve of a Muslim moratorium, if a purge of them did take place, it would kick out more than half of the party. According to a Rasmussed poll conducted in April, 66 percent of Republican voters support a temporary ban on Muslim immigration to the United States. Furthermore, a March Morning Consult poll found that exactly half of all Americans favor the moratorium.
In addition, if Flake wants to purge any Republican deemed a bigot by the press, he might have to include his own son. In 2013, it was discovered that Flake’s teenage son used the “n” word, “faggot” and anti-Semitic language in a series of Facebook posts. The senator later apologized for his son’s comments.
Earlier this month, Flake had a contentious meeting with Trump after he introduced himself as the Arizona senator “who was not captured,” a dig at the GOP candidate’s derision of Sen. John McCain’s war record. (RELATED: Report: Trump Has Contentious Meeting With Senate Republicans)