Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) announced on Tuesday that he will not run again for re-election in 2018, citing President Donald Trump and his agenda as his primary reason.
Left-wing media outlets immediately tried to cast Flake’s decision as a sign of doom for Republicans in 2018 — despite the fact that Flake had an abysmal 18% approval rating in August as many Republican voters did not approve of his anti-Trump efforts.
"There may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party," Flake told The Arizona Republic.
Flake said that Arizona Republicans overwhelmingly support President Trump and that one of the most important issues to voters is making sure that a candidate stands with the President.
"Here's the bottom line: The path that I would have to travel to get the Republican nomination is a path I'm not willing to take, and that I can't in good conscience take," Flake said. "It would require me to believe in positions I don't hold on such issues as trade and immigration and it would require me to condone behavior that I cannot condone."
Flake said President Trump was too mean — citing his "personal attacks" — which ultimately led him to his decision to not seek re-election in 2018.
Will Allison, a spokesman for Flake, recently dismissed rumors that he would throw in the towel. "He is running," Allison insisted.
Flake’s announcement came just days after Laura Ingraham and Steve Bannon campaigned for Flake’s 2018 Republican challenger Dr. Kelly Ward.
"He believes that things like the Trans-Pacific Partnership or the World Trade Organization or NAFTA are somehow going to turn around as really good for the United States," Ingraham said. "Jeff Flake stands, on almost every issue, diametrically opposed to President Trump. He voted for a guy who he knew couldn’t get elected president because he despised the Trump agenda so much."
Ingraham also pointed out that Flake was for the "Gang of Eight" amnesty bill and that he was also "willing to lose the Supreme Court for a generation or more to stop Donald Trump."