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Trump reacts to ABC15 video, calls Arizona Senator Jeff Flake 'toast'

Posted at 4:55 PM, Nov 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-20 09:36:07-05

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Sunday afternoon to call the career of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake "toast."

The President's tweet made direct reference to ABC15 Arizona exclusive video from Mesa on Friday that caught Flake saying the Republican party may be "toast."


Flake was hosting a town hall event at aerospace company GECO in Mesa before making the comments. At one point, he took a question from Mesa Mayor John Giles about possibly running for president in 2020 against Donald Trump.

After the hour-long discussion ended, Flake stepped off the stage and into the audience. That's when Giles walked up to the senator. 

Flake was still wearing a microphone on his lapel, and while sound to the speakers had been muted, the audio feed continued to ABC15 cameras at the back of the room.

"...[if we] become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump, we are toast," Flake said.

ABC15's camera began to roll mid-sentence, and Flake's office told us the senator used the word "if we" before our cameras started.

"And I am not throwing smoke at you, but you are the guy," Giles responded. "Just for fun, think about how much fun it would be, just to be the foil, you know, and point out what an idiot this guy [Trump] is."

Moments later, a man walked over to Flake and pointed to the microphone, clearly catching the senator by surprise. 

Giles didn't mention Trump by name, but he was apparently talking about the President. Giles' office did not dispute the intent of the comment when specifically asked by ABC15. 

In response to the ABC15 Arizona reporting, Flake tweeted on Saturday, "No news here. I've been saying this to anyone who will listen."

Flake has publicly sparred with President Trump many times this year, and in a blistering speech on the Senate floor last month, he announced he would not be running for re-election. 

Giles, a Republican, was elected as Mesa's mayor in August 2014 and was re-elected two years later.

Pollster Mike Noble with OH Predictive Insights says the conversation shows how alarmed some Republicans are at the state of their own party.

"You could tell there is smoke rising from the GOP, now whether or not they are sounding the fire alarms remains to be seen," said Noble.