Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, predicted the destruction of the Republican Party if it becomes defined by President Donald Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore and his words were picked up on an open microphone, according to the Associated Press.
“If we become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump, we are toast,” Flake said at a town hall meeting for aerospace workers in Phoenix. The words were heard over his lapel microphone.
Though he did not intend his comment to be public, Flake did not back down from it after word spread of what he said.
“I’ve been saying this to anyone would listen,” Flake tweeted.
The senator, who has announced he will not seek re-election in 2018, has been a frequent critic of the president. After his announcement that he would finish his term and not run again, Flake delivered a blistering attack on the Senate floor, HuffPost reported. Though Flake did not name Trump, it was clear the message was intended for the president.
In the speech, Flake talked about the “coarseness of our national dialogue,” adding that “the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth and decency” has to end.
Flake also ripped Trump in various interviews, including one on Comedy Central’s Daily Show where he criticized the president’s tweets, including Trump’s suggestion that the FBI should investigate his 2016 presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton.
“That’s something you expect of a tin horn dictator, not us,” Flake said.
The Arizona senator has also been highly critical of Roy Moore, even before Moore came under fire for alleged instances of sexual harassment and misconduct involving teen women when he was in his 30s.
Flake specifically noted Moore’s statements that Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, did not belong in Congress because he was a Muslim and Moore’s support of the birther theory that former President Barack Obama was born in Kenya and not in the United States.
Flake said the principles espoused by Roy Moore were not the principles of the Republican Party and answering a question from a CBS News reporter by saying he would vote for a Democrat before he would vote for Moore.
Moore responded to Flake’s open microphone remarks Saturday by referring to the senator as an “agent of destruction” in the Republican Party, AL.com reported.
[Featured Image by Susan Walsh/AP Images]