Anti-Trump GOP Sen. Jeff Flake will not seek reelection, saying it would require him to condone behaviour that he cannot condone

  • Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, announced Tuesday that he will not seek reelection in 2018.
  • Flake said that, under President Donald Trump, “there may not be a place for a Republican like me.”
  • Flake has been an outspoken critic of the president, who has endorsed another GOP candidate competing for Flake’s Senate seat.

Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican and outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, will not seek reelection in 2018, he announced Tuesday.

Flake told The Arizona Republic that his brand of libertarian-leaning Republican politics does not square with some of Trump’s policy positions, including on immigration and trade, and that he could not condone the president’s behaviour.

“There may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party,” Flake told The Republic, adding, “this spell will pass, but not by next year.”

“Here’s the bottom line: The path that I would have to travel to get the Republican nomination is a path I’m not willing to take, and that I can’t in good conscience take,” he said. “It would require me to believe in positions I don’t hold on such issues as trade and immigration and it would require me to condone behaviour that I cannot condone.”

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon predicted that Flake, whose approval rating has hovered around 20% for the past few months, would give up his seat, telling The New York Times last month that if Flake “doesn’t get a better poll in the next 30 days, you’re going to see him step down or the establishment is going to make him.”

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