Flake: Anti-tariff Republican should challenge Trump in 2020

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan speaks to the media after a House Republican conference on Capitol Hill in Washington   Thomson Reuters

Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, said Sunday that President Trump should face a Republican primary challenge in his 2020 reelection bid.

Host Chuck Todd asked, "Do you think he needs to be challenged from somebody who espouses your views?"

"As a Republican who believes in free trade, limited government, economic freedom, I couldn't be re-elected in my party right now", said Flake, he won his Senate seat in 2012 after serving six terms in the U.S. House.

He went on to say that it would be a tough go for any Republican to run a primary campaign against Trump. The Republican Party is the Trump party right now.

But Flake says "that's not to say it will stay that way".

Flake, whom many speculate has his own presidential ambitions, did not indicate whether he meant to be that challenger. This year, he has given Senate floor speeches denouncing the president's attacks on the media and antagonism toward Democrats.

Flake is also planning to introduce legislation to nullify Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, set to take effect later this month.

He said it's tough to make the case that the Republican Party is still the party of free trade. "We need to aggressively negotiate both bilateral and multilateral trade deals, because we're going to be left behind".

"We have a conducive tax and regulatory-the economy looks good".

The rally was sprinkled with mentions of Saccone and the election in general, but for the most part, according to The New York Times, was "in-his-element Trump, vintage 2016: Rambling and fiery, boastful and jocular - the part of being president that he loves perhaps the most". "If I came like a stiff, you guys wouldn't be here tonight", he said, launching into an impression of himself as a boring president who does boring things, like expressing respect for the military or saying "God bless you". "We should not normalize this behavior'".

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