Trump spokeswoman fires back at Flake: 'His numbers are in the tank'

The White House blasted Republican Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donates to Democratic sheriff being challenged by Arpaio in Arizona The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says US-China trade talks to resume, hails potential trade with Japan, UK Joe Arpaio to run for Maricopa County sheriff in 2020  MORE (Ariz.) on Tuesday for criticizing President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE's assertion that Democrats who didn't clap for his State of the Union address were committing "treason."

Responding to Flake's speech on the Senate floor hours earlier where he slammed Trump for those comments, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissed Flake's opinions as irrelevant.

"Honestly, I'm not going to respond directly to Sen. Flake's comments. I don't really care what Sen. Flake has to say, I don't think his constituents do either, and that's why I think his numbers are in the tank," she said.

"The president was clearly joking with his comments, but what isn't a joke is that Democrats refuse to celebrate the accomplishments of last year that has helped all Americans."

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump made the controversial comments on Monday during a speech in Ohio. Talking about Democrats who didn't clap at his address last week, he referred to the reaction as "un-American." 

"Can we call that treason? Why not?" Trump said.

"They certainly don't seem to love our country very much." 

When pressed on whether the designation of "un-American" was a joke, Sanders added that "it's un-American" not to celebrate economic successes under Trump.

Flake, one of Trump's fiercest GOP critics who announced in October that he would not seek reelection after 2018, took on those comments during a speech on Tuesday.

"One who levels such a charge knows neither the meaning of treason nor the power that the words of a president carry. ... Our silence will also mark the day that we failed to recognize that this conduct in an American president is simply not normal," Flake said. 

The White House has fired back at the GOP senator before following his criticism of the president.

Last month the White House knocked Flake as an attention-seeker after he criticized the way Trump handles the press, comparing the president to Soviet Union dictator Josef Stalin.