Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is supporting his Gang of Eight ally and senate colleague Sen. Marco Rubio for president.
“I’m supporting Marco Rubio for president because he has the ideas, the principles, and the toughness necessary to bring reform to Washington,” said Flake in a statement to reporters. “In an election where serious solutions are seriously lacking, Marco Rubio has proven that he can inspire more than just anger in Americans who are looking for an alternative to the status quo.”
Flake joined Rubio and Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham to push immigration reform with four of their Democratic colleagues in the Senate in 2013. They were dubbed the “Gang of Eight” and they successfully passed an immigration bill through the Senate.
“While there is sure to be something in this legislation for everyone to criticize, this bill represents a measure that can actually pass Congress and is huge improvement over the status quo,” Flake said in a statement in April 2013 while introducing the bill with Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Michael Bennet (D-CO).
The proposal was never taken up in the house by Speaker John Boehner and his successor Speaker Paul Ryan has signaled that major immigration reform is off the table in this election year.
Rubio eventually abandoned support for the effort as he began to prepare for his run for president. The Florida senator still defends his effort to pass immigration reform, however, saying that it was the best he could get in a Democratic led Senate.