Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake is refusing to rule out a 2020 presidential run aimed at challenging President Donald Trump.
There has been a lot of speculation regarding what Flake — who will not be running for re-election in November — will do once he’s done serving in the upper chamber of Congress. Some have said the outspoken Trump critic could be gearing up for a presidential campaign.
During a Sunday appearance on MSNBC’s “KasieDC,” Flake emphasized that he thinks someone from within the GOP will challenge Trump.
Though he did not say it would be him, the Arizona senator also did not deny the possibility that he could run.
“Do you think there’s a moral obligation or duty for someone else in your party to challenge (Trump) for the nomination in 2020?” host Kasie Hunt asked Flake.
“I don’t want to put it that way, but I think he will have a challenge,” Flake responded, before noting he believes Trump will have to fight off challenges from both an independent candidate and a GOP one.
Flake continued by lamenting the current state of the Republican Party.
“I am not the only one — not the only Republican who is saying, ‘You know, I’m not sure this is my party.’ We used to stand for limited government and free trade, free enterprise and not this kind of nationalist, protectionist kind of party,” he said.
Later in the segment, Hunt asked Flake point-blank if he would “completely rule out” challenging Trump in 2020.
“I won’t rule it out,” Flake replied. “It’s not in my plans. But I’m not ruling it out. I don’t think anybody should.”
Flake has previously expressed similar sentiments when asked about what he will do in 2020.
In December, the Arizona Republican told ABC News that running was not in his “plans.” But, conveying a similar message to what he said Sunday, Flake suggested Trump could be “inviting” both independent and GOP challengers, according to The Daily Wire.
With his future plans still unknown to the public, Flake plans to deliver an anti-Trump speech from the floor of the Senate on Wednesday.
In the speech, Flake is expected to criticize the president for his treatment of various news media outlets, even going so far as to compare Trump to former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
“It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies,” reads an excerpt from the speech, according to The Washington Post.
“It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase ‘enemy of the people,’ that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of ‘annihilating such individuals’ who disagreed with the supreme leader.”
Flake will reportedly deliver his speech before Trump announces the recipients of the “Fake News Awards,” which the president has said will be handed out “to the most corrupt & biased of the Mainstream Media.”
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