Senator Flake fires back at President Trump's rally comments

Posted at 6:00 PM, Aug 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-24 21:04:22-04

He's been called "weak on crime, borders, a non-factor in the senate,” and "toxic" by President Donald Trump.

In an interview with ABC15 today, Republican Senator Jeff Flake fired back, saying he's not a rubber stamp for the president.

"My position is work with the president, vote with the president when I think he's right, and I oppose him when I think he's wrong. No senator should be a rubber stamp for a president, republican or democrat. That's not our role," said Senator Flake.

He added that he was actually glad the president got a chance to visit the border area in Yuma and see the huge decline in illegal immigration in the area for himself.

While President Trump stated this showed the border wall was working, Senator Flake said they were actually replacing the old landing strip fencing in the area with an actual fence, as it was too opaque to see through.

"So this notion of putting in a 2,000 mile wall has always been just, for anybody who spends time on the border, just out there,” Flake said.

Flake said he could not state whether he agreed with the president on the border wall issue or not, as the president had not really outlined a real plan.

"I remember the campaign promise that Mexico was going to pay for it so, all of a sudden that went away but now we're sticking with 'this'. I have to find out what 'this' is."

Senator Flake said he agreed on several decisions the president had made, such as the Supreme Court justice and the National Security Team.

NAFTA has been another topic the two political leaders have been butting heads on.

The North American Free Trade Agreement is a 1,700 page deal struck between the U.S, Canada, and Mexico that basically abolished taxes on any imports coming into the U.S.

President Trump has called it the worst deal ever made in U.S. history saying it's cost the country thousands of jobs with companies moving overseas because of cheap labor. As talks have begun to re-negotiate the deal, the president said he did not feel the three countries could come up with an agreement and predicted they would have to scrap NAFTA altogether.

Senator Flake felt the deal needed to be modernized, not scrapped, and added it had also created many gains for the U.S.

"Prior to NAFTA the total trade for our country was about $80 billion now it's approaching $600 billion, what's not to like. Arizona's trade with Mexico is approaching $16 billion a year," said Flake.