Jeff Flake Announces He Won’t Challenge Trump In 2020 Republican Primary

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Former Republican Senator Jeff Flake announced on Tuesday that he will not launch a primary campaign against Donald Trump in 2020, CNN reports.

Flake, who has been in the public eye largely thanks to his willingness to criticize the president, said on CBS This Morning that he hopes a Republican will challenge Trump in 2020 — but ruled out the possibility of it being him that does so.

“I’ve always said that I do hope that there is a Republican who challenges the president in the primary. I still hope that somebody does. But that somebody will not be me. I will not be a candidate.”

According to Flake, while it would be good for the Republican Party that someone challenges Trump in 2020, “there really isn’t a path right now” for that to happen. “Certainly not unless you’re willing to be out there already raising a lot of money and basically living on the road right now,” Flake said.

As detailed by a previous report from the Inquisitr, the former Arizona lawmaker has indeed suggested on numerous occasions that Trump needs to be challenged by a Republican in 2020. In light of Flake’s frequent criticism of the president, the suggestion does not come as a surprise — but in light of his voting record, it may.

Flake’s voting record, as published by FiveThirtyEight, shows that the Republican voted in line with Donald Trump’s position 81 percent of the time. Flake’s opposition to Trump was arguably somewhat rhetorical in consideration of this fact.

In a 2017 column, Slate writer Jamelle Bouie dubbed Flake “the paralyzed critic,” arguing that the former Republican — although not hesitant to criticize Donald Trump — has not used his powers to pressure the president or to hold the president accountable. He has instead preferred to vocally oppose Trump, while essentially refusing to do anything substantial to tame him.

In today’s CBS This Morning appearance, Flake also addressed the possibility of an independent challenging Donald Trump in 2020. According to the former Republican, an independent contender would take “a very difficult path.”

Flake left open the possibility of an independent challenging Trump, especially “if there’s somebody on the far left nominated by the Democratic Party.”

“That’s difficult to see, but stranger things have happened, and I think we’re living in strange times,” Flake concluded, without addressing whether or not he would seek an independent candidacy in 2020.

As per reporting from the Hill, the Republican National Convention (RNC) unanimously approved a resolution throwing support behind Donald Trump. Although largely symbolic, the decision to pass a resolution explicitly backing President Trump ahead of the 2020 presidential election is significant, according to the Hill, since the party has historically refrained from supporting a candidate before official nomination.