Report: Trump met with Flake’s prospective primary opponents at Phoenix rally
PHOENIX — President Donald Trump seemingly increased the effort to unseat U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona after reportedly meeting with two of the junior senator’s prospective primary opponents.
Trump met with state Treasurer Jeff DeWit and Robert Graham, former chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, before his rally in Phoenix on Tuesday, Politico reported.
U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Arizona) was also involved in the meeting, which Politico described as a “backstage huddle.” During the huddle, Trump reportedly referred to Flake as “the flake” and “discussed the potential for a primary challenge to Flake.”
Graham’s daughter reportedly posted a photo of the huddle on her personal Instagram account.
Neither DeWit nor Graham have launched official campaigns for the 2018 midterm elections, but both politicians have been long-rumored to enter the race. CNN reported in July that the White House had “multiple conversations” with both DeWit and Graham about opposing Flake in the primary election.
Trump has long voiced his opposition for Flake, calling the junior senator “toxic” on Twitter and voicing support for his Republican primary opponent Kelli Ward.
Trump tweeted again on Wednesday morning, saying Flake is “weak on crime and border!”
Phoenix crowd last night was amazing – a packed house. I love the Great State of Arizona. Not a fan of Jeff Flake, weak on crime & border!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2017
Flake recently released a book called “Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and A Return to Principle,” which attacks Trump and other Republican members of Congress who went along with his election.
The feud between Flake and Trump stemmed from the days of the campaign, after Flake called for the president to drop out of the race after a video emerged of Trump having a lewd conversation about women in 2005.