Former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake says a “sound defeat” of President Donald Trump in November’s election would be better long term for the Republican Party, adding that he would be comfortable voting for a Democrat instead of his own party’s standard bearer.
Flake, a longtime Trump critic who has before argued that the Republican Party should not support Trump in the 2020 election, was asked about the future of the GOP in an interview with The Washington Post.
“I don’t know anyone who thinks that this is the future of the party. This is a demographic cul-de-sac we’re in, if nothing else. Anger and resentment only go so far; you have to have a governing philosophy,” the Arizona conservative said.
“I don’t know of any of my colleagues who really believe this is it. I just couldn’t support [Donald Trump] long before he started to run. The birtherism thing was just too much for me. And then it piled on,” he continued.
While he served in the Senate, Flake was one of the President’s most vocal Republican critics, despite being a staunch conservative who almost always voted with the GOP majority. Rather than running what was likely to be a losing reelection battle, Flake opted to retire.
While some Republicans have urged Flake to run against Trump, he ruled out a primary run in January.
Asked again if either a second term for Trump or a defeat in November would be better for the country by the Washington Post, Flake doubled down on his previous position.
“Oh, a sound defeat, no doubt. Long term for the Republican Party, you bet. And for conservatism as well.”
Flake said he wouldn’t rule out voting for a Democrat in the fall, without specifically referring to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
“Yeah. This won’t be the first time I’ve voted for a Democrat — though not for president [before]. Last time I voted for a third-party candidate. But I will not vote for Donald Trump.”