Retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) praised Sen.-elect Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) Washington Post opinion editorial criticizing President Donald Trump. He told CNN host Anderson Cooper on Wednesday that “it said things that need to continually be said.”
Outgoing Republican Sen. @JeffFlake praises incoming GOP Sen-elect @MittRomney for his scathing op-ed directed at President Trump, says he was not surprised President Trump dragged his name into the spat. https://t.co/zjKIShSmps pic.twitter.com/JI4Ymig8uw
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) January 3, 2019
A partial transcript is as follows:
COOPER: Sen. Flake, first of all, what’s your reaction to the president injecting you into the situation between him and Sen.-elect Romney, using it as an opportunity to insult you before you leave the Senate?
SEN. FLAKE: I wasn’t surprised by the tweet. But anyway, I thought it was a great op-ed that was written. I think it said things that need to continually be said. So I applaud Mitt Romney for saying that.
COOPER: Do you think it’s wise that Sen.-elect Romney chose to, kind of, throw down the pre-emptive gauntlet before he’s even sworn in? He’s been strongly criticized by the president’s allies, including his own niece, who, as you know, is head of the RNC.
SEN. FLAKE: I heard in an interview that Mitt Romney gave–and he said that he basically wanted to tell the voters of Utah and the people he represents what he is going to do when he gets here. I think that laying that out in an op-ed before you start is a good time to do that. I think it was a good thing.
COOPER: One of the things he said in the op-ed is, and I’m quoting, “The president has not risen to the mantle of the office.” At this point, do you believe the president can actually rise to that standard? It’s been two years. Is it even possible?
SEN. FLAKE: Well, there’s always hope. I think a lot of us hoped when we were supportive of him during the campaign — I certainly wasn’t — that he would rise to the occasion. He did appoint some good people, initially. There were some good policies that came from that. But in terms of the character issues that Mitt Romney spoke of, we really haven’t seen much gain there, and it does make a difference around the world.