White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders fired back at Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) comments criticizing President Trump for singling out Democrats who refused to clap during the State of the Union.
Sanders dismissed Flake’s Tuesday Senate floor remarks as “irrelevant,” noting that the Arizona senator’s approval ratings are at an all-time low.
“Honestly, I’m not going to respond directly to Sen. Flake’s comments. I don’t really care what Sen. Flake has to say, I don’t think his constituents do either, and that’s why I think his numbers are in the tank,” Sanders said Tuesday.
“The president was clearly joking with his comments, but what isn’t a joke is that Democrats refuse to celebrate the accomplishments of last year that has helped all Americans.”
Flake said in his Senate floor speech that Trump has a “flagrant disregard for truth and decency” for calling Democrats who did not applaud during his address “treasonous.”
“One who levels such a charge knows neither the meaning of treason nor the power that the words of a president carry. … Our silence will also mark the day that we failed to recognize that this conduct in an American president is simply not normal,” Flake said.
Trump called out congressional Democrats Monday during a speech in Ohio for refusing to clap for any positive economic news announced during the State of the Union address.
“Dead silence. There was not a smile,” the president said. “That means they would rather see Trump do badly than our country do well. That’s what it means. It’s very selfish.”
“Can we call that treason? Why not?” he asked. “I mean, they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much,” Trump added.
Sanders added that it is “un-American” not to celebrate the country’s positive economic gains under Trump.
Flake announced in October that he would not seek re-election to the Senate. Before Flake decided not to run for re-election, polls showed his primary opponent, Dr. Kelli Ward, beating Flake by double-digits.