Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe mistakenly retweeted President Donald Trump’s tweet attacking Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.
The president tweeted Thursday morning, “How could Jeff Flake, who is setting record low polling numbers in Arizona and was therefore humiliatingly forced out of his own Senate seat without even a fight (and who doesn’t have a clue), think about running for office, even a lower one, again? Let’s face it, he’s a Flake!”
Abe responded to the tweet, “I too look forward to having fruitful talks with my great friend President @realdDonaldTrump as always.”
The Hill reported that Abe’s tweet was deleted 20 minutes later, and the prime minister instead retweeted Trump, who wrote: “Looking forward to seeing my friend Prime Minister @AbeShinzo of Japan at noon. Will be discussing North Korea and Trade.”
Looking forward to seeing my friend Prime Minister @AbeShinzo of Japan at noon. Will be discussing North Korea and Trade.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2018
Trump’s Flake comment came ahead of a speech the lawmaker made on the Senate floor in which he publicized ahead of time that he planned to criticize how the president handles foreign relations, and particularly his trade policies, according to the Arizona Republic.
During his remarks, Flake said, “Alliances, institutions, pacts, that took generations to patiently build, generations more to solidify, that were paid for in both blood and treasure, are shattered in an ill-tempered second, an ill-considered tantrum, a childish taunt here, a bellicose insult there.”
He added, “Incoherent policy utterances, often as not by tweet, contradicted in the space of single news cycle. Muddled and mercurial, this is not grown-up leadership. Our allies are left baffled, confounded, often appalled.”
Flake hinted at a potential presidential 2020 bid last month stating on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” “It’s not in my plans. But I have not ruled anything out.”
“I do hope that somebody runs on the Republican side other than the president, if nothing else, simply to remind Republicans what conservatism is. And what Republicans have traditionally stood for,” Flake stated.
The senator has staked his ground, along with fellow Arizonan Sen. John McCain, as being among the harshest critics of the 45th president within the Republican ranks serving in Congress.
Flake announced his retirement last October as he faced the very likely prospect of being defeated in the Arizona Republican primary — and if he succeeded in becoming the party’s nominee, losing in the general election.
Polling last September showed Flake trailing former State Sen. Kelli Ward by more than 20 points in a Republican Party primary matchup.
A survey released last summer found Flake having the lowest approval rating of any senator up for re-election at just 18 percent. Meanwhile, 62 percent of respondents said they disapproved of his performance.
Ward responded to the senator’s speech on Thursday, saying, “Flake’s latest personal attacks of the President on the Senate Floor today demonstrates he’s lost all interest in advancing an America First agenda, instead focusing on grandstanding before leaving office.”
Flake appeared to take Abe’s mistaken tweet in stride, with a reference to Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar.”
Et tu, Abe? https://t.co/HDsjWXeq2D
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) June 7, 2018
Caesar uttered “Et tu Brute?” shocked to find Brutus, who he thought was his friend, among his assassins.
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