PHOENIX — One of the more popular chants at Republican rallies as of late has been “Lock her up!” in regards to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The chant stems from numerous investigations into Clinton over her use of a private server for government emails and the part she played in the Benghazi incident.
No charges have been brought against Clinton in either situation, but that has not stopped the chants that U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said are detracting from his party fixing its own issues that could push voters away, primarily the rhetoric of its nominee, Donald Trump.
“When we hear the ‘Lock her up chants,’ that’s not a good place to be,” Flake told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Mike Russell on Thursday. “You can certainly make the case that she ought to be charged but I don’t think anybody realistically believes that she ought to be in jail.”
Flake said the chants run along the same vein as arguments that President Barack Obama was born in another nation and falsified his birth certificate.
“When you start from that position, then the credibility of your argument on what we ought to be concerned about goes away,” he said. “It’s just like saying we want to challenge (President) Barack Obama on his positions but, by the way, he was born in Kenya.”
However, Flake pointed out that he is not backing Clinton. He also said the party should focus on attacking her over the issues.
“Hillary Clinton on foreign policy. There’s a huge naivete when it came to Russia with this Russian reset. She was right in the middle of that. The decision to intervene in Libya, she was largely in the middle of that. The discounting of ISIS and the threat there, she was right there with them.”
Flake also said Clinton has failed to separate herself from Obama’s policies that have led to the “slowest-growing economy that we’ve had in years.”
But until the party moves away from the “lock her up” chant, Flake feels voters will look to different ideas to solve the nation’s problems.
“That’s the problem. We get so far down the rabbit hole on some of these things that nobody takes us seriously and these are serious issues,” he said.
Flake has been an outspoken opponent of Trump for some time. He said he hopes the nominee “changes as we go along.” He has promised to support the party’s nominee in the election, but has not openly said he supports Trump.