Monday on CNN’s “The Lead,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would have to change “the tone and tenor of his campaign” and some of his “positions,” before the junior senator from Arizona could support the GOP ticket.
Partial transcript as follows:
TAPPER: What’s your take on what Mr. Trump said about the Khans?
FLAKE: You know, it started when he first launched his campaign and said what he said about John McCain—that he didn’t respect him because he was captured. One would have thought that if anybody is beyond reproach, someone who spent five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, that still Donald Trump said what he said. Now to go after the Khans, and to make a statement like he’s made there—I’m just completely flummoxed. I think most Americans are at why someone would do that. The reason I went to the mosque after proposing his Muslim ban is because having a religious test for people to enter the country is just so far afield from who we are as Americans, that I thought it was necessary do that and I still feel that way and that was Mr. Khan’s main point that we shouldn’t have a test that Muslim Americans are patriotic Americans and we ought to recognize that.
TAPPER: Senator, you’re notably not supporting Donald Trump, but you always emphasize that you’re not never Trump, you might get there. You might endorse him. Given this recent controversy, what would he need to say to you to get you on board, or do you think at this point given what he said about the Khans, when a said about John McCain, that it’s just impossible?
FLAKE: Well, we still have 99 days. Hope springs eternal. But he would have to change, not just the tone and tenor of his campaign, that would have to change, but some of his positions would have to change. His ban on Muslims, he seems to have walked back, but then there’s indications he hasn’t walked back. He needs a more serious immigration policy. Just saying we will build a wall and make Mexico pay for it isn’t a serious proposal. His thoughts about NATO and security umbrella that we have for European countries, extremely troubling. These things and his position on trade is troubling. So a number of positions need to change. I hope they do. He’s got a good running mate. Mike Pence is a good man. I hope he has some influence on Trump in some of these areas.
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN