Jeff Flake Takes A Swipe At Trump During Speech In Presidential Battleground State

Grace Carr | Reporter

Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake insinuated that President Donald Trump has created and is perpetuating party “tribalism” that is harming the nation in a Monday speech.

“Tribalism is ruining us. It is tearing our country apart. It is no way for sane adults to act,” Flake said during a speech at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.

“The Republican Party is the president’s party right now,” Flake said in his speech, according to The Washington Post. “But it won’t always be. And it can’t be if we’re going to be a major political force in the future.”

WaPo called the speech “an unmistakable shot at Trump.”

“We Republicans have given in to the terrible tribal impulse that first mistakes our opponents for our enemies,” Flake said. “I had failed my tribe. I’ve been failing my tribe for some time now.”

Flake ascended into the limelight after he struck a deal with Senate Democrats to investigate the allegations made against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Agreeing to advance the nominee for a vote on the Senate floor, Flake said Friday that he would only feel comfortable voting to confirm Kavanaugh after an FBI investigation — limited in scope and no more than a week — into the allegations made against the nominee.

Trump, however, later said the FBI has free rein over the investigation.

“They can do whatever they have to do, whatever it is that they do,” Trump said Saturday.

Flake has been a longtime critic of the president.

“Our presidency has been debased by a figure who has a seemingly bottomless appetite for destruction and division, and only a passing familiarity with how the Constitution works,” Flake said at a Harvard Law School commencement speech in March.

“I sometimes feel like a man temporarily without a party,” Flake also said in his Monday speech, touting his effort to be bipartisan.

Speculation has swirled that Flake might be a possible 2020 presidential candidate, and he has “not ruled it out.”

His remarks come after Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, participated in a Sept. 27 hearing addressing her allegations, prompting Flake and Senate Democrats to call for an FBI investigation into the claims.

“We’re wanting to make sure that is a fulsome investigation — that it’s not limited as some worry that it might be,” Flake said Monday, according to WaPo.

Democrats called for Kavanaugh to be investigated for perjury.

Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick have all made allegations against Kavanaugh, accusing him of sexual assault and harassment during his high school and later years. Other anonymous claims have also been made against Kavanaugh. (RELATED: NYT: Kavanaugh Once Threw Ice On Some Guy At A Bar)

Swetnick’s ex-boyfriend reportedly filed a restraining order against her in 2001, and she has been sued for sexual harassment. Stormy Daniels’s attorney Michael Avenatti — who is considering a presidential campaign — is representing Swetnick.

“This country is hungry for us to work together again on their behalf,” Flake also remarked in a “60 Minutes” CBS interview, WaPo reported.

Kavanaugh has continued to deny any allegations of sexual assault.

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