President Donald Trump accused Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) of giving up his reelection for the U.S. Senate because he couldn’t win. In an interview with ABC’s “The View,” Flake admitted Trump is actually correct.
“I felt that I could not run the kind of race I would need to run to be competitive,” Flake told the women. “I could not speak out as I am now and as I have been over the past several months. There is no way you can compete in a Republican primary, particularly in a state like Arizona, if you don’t agree with the president’s position or condone his behavior.”
Co-host Joy Behar noted that as it stood, Flake had an 18 percent approval rating among voters in the race. She wondered if he had a chance of winning if he would have stayed.
“If I could have run the kind of race I’m used to running, if I could tell the truth,” he said, claiming he would have run. Behar asked if he couldn’t win behind honest about who he is and what he thinks. “No, you can’t win a primary right now if you stand up and say ‘This is not right. This is not normal. Especially in Arizona and other places now.”
In recent months, Flake expressed regret for not coming out against racist philosophies like birtherism in the GOP. When he made the announcement he would no longer run, it was during a floor speech to the U.S. Senate.
“We must dedicate ourselves to making had sure that this does not become normal,” he told his fellow senators. “We have fooled ourselves long enough that a pivot to governing is right around the corner. A return to civility and stability right behind it. We know better than that. By now we all know better than that.”
He echoed that same sentiment to “The View” women, saying it isn’t normal to have a president that behaves the way Trump does.
“It is not normal to have a president come out like he did on Friday and try to direct the FBI and federal agencies to go out after former political opponents,” Flake said. “That’s not normal and we shouldn’t condone it.”
When discussing the senator’s A rating with the NRA, the women wondered how he felt about the Texas church massacre. He explained that he was shocked with this man’s background he was able to get through background checks.
“This is something that should show up,” Flake said of the domestic violence charges and mental health problems. Neither of those things restrict people from purchasing guns in Texas, however.
Flake also touted the “no fly, no buy” bill that would prevent those on the airline “no fly” list from buying weapons. The policy was another that the NRA opposed. Flake also admitted that there’s no reason to have an automatic weapon, but that semi-automatic weapons should be fine.
“See, that doesn’t make sense to me,” Behar cut in. “The semi-automatic can shoot, let’s say, 20 shots and the automatic can shoot like 50 shots. You’re still going to kill 20 people. I don’t understand that.”
Watch the full conversation below: