President Trump said Wednesday that Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker are not seeking reelection because they would lose, challenging the argument they're leaving out of frustration with his presidency.
“The reason Flake and Corker dropped out of the Senate race is very simple, they had zero chance of being elected. Now act so hurt & wounded!” Trump tweeted, one day after an acrid social media exchange with Corker and Flake's announcement he would not seek reelection.
Trump’s exchange Tuesday morning with Corker -- in which he called the senator “incompetent” and accused him of not supporting the White House tax-reform plan -- occurred hours before the president had lunch with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Trump earlier this fall decided not to endorse Corker, of Tennessee, for reelection, after the senator questioned the president’s competence and leadership.
Flake, of Arizona, announced after the luncheon that he would not seek a second term in 2018.
“I have children and grandchildren to answer to," Flake said. "So, Mr. President, I will not be complicit or silent. I've decided that I would be better able to represent the people of Arizona and to better serve my country and my conscience by freeing myself of the political consideration that consumed far too much bandwidth and would cause me to compromise far too many principles.”
A recent Morning Consult poll showed that Flake had only a 37 percent approval rating among Arizona Republicans and that 50 percent disapproved.