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Arizona Senator Jeff Flake discusses government shutdown, outgoing legacy and future

Posted at 6:38 PM, Dec 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-29 08:17:39-05

PHOENIX — The Trump campaign rallies, the chants about fake media, and references to locking Hillary Clinton up - are the very things Senator Jeff Flake says are wrong with his own party.

"You look at some of these rallies sometimes and you look at the 'Lock her Up' chants and whatever else," said Flake. "And you think, these are the spasms of a dying party because with those positions and that behavior, the party will never be able to appeal to a broad enough electorate."

Senator Flake doesn't mind talking about how much he doesn't like President Trump but he says his dislike actually started years ago.

"When he came out years before the campaign and tried to maintain that Barack Obama was not born in this country and tried to disqualify him, I thought that was an awful thing to do," said Flake.

The senator says he thought his opinion would change once President Trump took office but it hasn't - in fact it became a deciding factor in running for office again.

"For me, I simply couldn't stand on a campaign stage with Donald Trump. That's the bottom line."

Flake admits his stance on Trump has cost him some popularity in Arizona. He figures a re-election campaign this time around would have been tough.

"The question became, are you with Trump? That was the overriding concern." said Flake. "Are you with the President? I would have had a very difficult time getting through a Republican primary."

After 18 years in public office, Flake says he's happy to be leaving on his terms. As for his future, he plans to stay involved in politics. But will he run for President?

"I've said somebody needs to run in the primary. Somebody needs to remind Republicans across the country what it means to be conservative and what it means to be decent."