- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Sen. Jeff Flake evaded questions on Wednesday about whether he’s looking at a presidential run next cycle.

“That’s a long way away. I’m focused on my next 14 months in the Senate,” Mr. Flake, Arizona Republican, said on ABC News. “We’ll deal with that when it comes to it.”

Mr. Flake made waves when he announced he’ll retire when his term expires in January 2019. He made a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday pointing to President Trump as the reason he decided not to seek re-election.

“Mr. President, I rise today to say: Enough. We must dedicate ourselves to making sure that the anomalous never becomes the normal,” Mr. Flake said in his speech. “With respect and humility, I must say that we have fooled ourselves for long enough that a pivot to governing is right around the corner, a return to civility and stability right behind it.”

The senator explained on ABC News that he decided to retire because he knew he couldn’t win in this type of political climate that he says was ushered in by Mr. Trump.

“I just can’t continue with this kind of politics. I couldn’t go on and run the kind of campaign I wanted to run, and win in this kind of Republican Party. I guess the president does deserve credit if you want to call it that,” Mr. Flake said.

Mr. Flake said that while he remains in the Senate, he’ll focus on policy issues like a new Authorization for Use of Military Force, passing legislation that protects Dreamers and “broader immigration policy.”

But he said he and his Republican colleagues need to speak out when they disagree with the president especially in the way he behaves.

Mr. Flake said that Republicans are “normalizing” Mr. Trump’s sometimes outlandish behavior by continuing to accept it, despite the “fatigue” he said members of his party feel about the president.

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