WASHINGTON — Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake says the Republican Party is in denial about Donald Trump, but claimed to The Daily Caller Tuesday night that he does not have it out for the president.
Instead, Flake says, he is just choosing his battles with Trump.
In an excerpt from Flake’s new book published by Politico Monday, the Arizona Republican wrote: “It was we conservatives who rightly and robustly asserted our constitutional prerogatives as a co-equal branch of government when a Democrat was in the White House but who, despite solemn vows to do the same in the event of a Trump presidency, have maintained an unnerving silence as instability has ensued. To carry on in the spring of 2017 as if what was happening was anything approaching normalcy required a determined suspension of critical faculties. And tremendous powers of denial.”
But the senator told TheDC he is not out to stop the president on every issue.
“I will work with him on Supreme Court Justices, regulatory policy, natural resources in Arizona–working with him when I can and I’ll certainly oppose him on NAFTA. We want to keep it. Those areas where we disagree, I’ll oppose him. No senator is a rubber stamp for the president,” he said.
“I opposed President Bush on No Child Left Behind, prescription drug benefits, Cuba policy. President Obama–I opposed him on most [issues] but I agreed with him on Cuba policy, for example, and some Africa policy. That’s what senators do. I’ll work with him when I can and oppose him when I have to,” Flake added
When asked by TheDC if he sees Republicans fracturing over supporting Trump, Flake replied, “I think you’ve seen in the past couple of weeks, particularly in Congress, Senators coming to the defense of Jeff Sessions. The senators are saying don’t try to remove him. So I think Congress is reasserting itself where we should.”
He went on to say, “I think we need to, when there’s behavior or policies or personnel things that affect us, we ought to raise our voice.”
Flake says he has no plans to leave the Republican Party and become a Democrat or an independent, despite his disagreements with the president.
“I’m a proud Republican — always have been always will be,” Flake said. “Why would I do that? I’m for economic freedom and individual responsibility. The Republican party is more closely aligned to those principles. And so that’s what this book is an affirmation of those principles and a call to return to civility and decency and decorum.”