Trump Attacks Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake By Name In Tweet Hours After Phoenix Rally

President Donald Trump speaks at a rally, Tuesday, Aug.22, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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So much for being “very presidential.”

Less than 12 hours after patting himself on the back for avoiding the use of Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) name as he attacked the senator during a big rally in Arizona, President Trump took to twitter to make his complaints about Flake even more explicit.

That tweet comes after Trump congratulated himself for being “very presidential” for only alluding to his hostility towards Flake and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) during a Tuesday night rally in Phoenix.

“I will not mention any names. Very presidential,” he said after attacking McCain for casting the vote that stymied Senate Republicans’ Obamacare repeal push. “And nobody wants me to mention your other senator, who’s weak on border, weak on crime. Nobody knows who the hell he is! See, I haven’t mentioned any names, so now everybody’s happy.”

Trump has signaled for weeks that he’s likely to endorse a primary challenger to Flake, a move that would be unprecedented in modern history — it’s unheard of for a president to endorse a primary opponent of a sitting senator of his own party.

That hostility towards Flake, who already faces a tough path to reelection next year, is contributing to his building tension with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who he has been increasingly publicly feuding with in recent weeks even though he needs McConnell to pass anything in his legislative agenda.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cameron Joseph is Talking Points Memo's senior political correspondent based in Washington, D.C. He covers Capitol Hill, the White House and the permanent campaign. Previous publications include the New York Daily News, Mashable, The Hill and National Journal. He grew up near Chicago and is an irrationally passionate Cubs fan.
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