WASHINGTON — The Latest on President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans (all times local):
President Donald Trump is insisting there’s “great unity in the Republican Party” despite a searing take-down from Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake.
Trump tells reporters as he departs the White House en route to Texas that Flake was against him “from before he ever knew me. He wrote a book about me before I ever met him.”
Trump says he doesn’t blame Flake for dropping his bid for re-election, saying his “poll numbers were so bad he couldn’t win” anyway.
Trump says: “He did the smart thing for himself. This way he can get out somewhat gracefully.”
Trump also says he believes that both Flake and another critic, Sen. Bob Corker, will vote for his tax cut plan because they want to “do the right thing for the country.”
Trump also described his Tuesday meeting with Republicans on the Hill as “almost a love fest,” with multiple standing ovations.
President Donald Trump is lashing out at two Republican senators who seared him with criticism.
Trump commented on Twitter Wednesday about Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee. Trump says both are not running for re-election because “they had zero chance of being elected.” He adds: “Now act so hurt & wounded!”
Trump continued to say that a Tuesday meeting with GOP senators was, with the exception of Flake and Corker, “a love fest with standing ovations and great ideas for USA!”
Trump’s comments followed a day in which Flake declared he would not be “complicit” with Trump and announced his surprise retirement, while Corker said the president “debases our nation” with constant untruths and name-calling.
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake says he has no regrets about saying President Donald Trump has debased politics with his roughshod style and social media broadsides.
Flake told MSNBC, “You can’t continue to just remain silent.”
On NBC’s “Today,” Flake cited the 1950s era of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, whose smear tactics alleging Communist infiltration ultimately led to his censure. Flake says, “There is a tipping point…I hope we’re reaching that tipping point.”
Flake made the rounds of morning television news shows Wednesday to talk about his decision not to run for re-election and his impassioned speech on the Senate floor Tuesday.
Asked if he thought Trump should be declared unfit for office, the Arizona Republican said “the voters made their choice. He was elected fair and square.”