Former Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona told an audience in New York City on Thursday that he would prefer a Democrat win in 2020 than see Donald Trump re-elected to a second term.
Flake, a longtime Trump critic who argued Thursday that the Republican Party should not support Trump in 2020, was asked if it is better for a Democrat to win the election if Trump is the Republican nominee.
“Yes … and this notion, this narrative that’s been built up, that Donald Trump is the only one that can cobble together the Electoral College and win is just a fallacy,” Flake replied at an Intelligence Squared debate in New York City. The organization bills itself as a “non-partisan, non-profit” group that hosts debates aimed at promoting various points of view.
“I think that four years is difficult enough to unravel some of the damage that has been done internationally to our role, to our leadership position. We cannot, should not go another four years,” the Arizona Republican said.
Flake also turned to attacking the President on policy during the debate, criticizing his positions on immigration and free trade, as well as Trump’s treatment of the media.
Read the full CNN report here.
Flake was a somewhat popular conservative congressman when he ran for U.S. Senate in 2012. But he irritated conservative voters when he helped produce the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill in 2013. He also backed President Barack Obama’s normalization of relations with Cuba.
Flake began criticizing Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, and Trump responded in kind. The senator continued to oppose Trump as president, declaring proudly that he was a member of the Republican Party’s “Never Trump” faction. A year ago, Flake called for a primary challenge to the president, though he declined to run himself. Flake also declined to run for re-election, after his liberal policy stances and his clash with Trump caused his popularity to plummet in Arizona.
In his last significant act in Congress, Flake wavered on supporting the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court before finally voting in favor.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.