Trump knocks Flake in congratulating McSally on Arizona win

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE took a shot at retiring Arizona Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakePoll: 33% of Kentucky voters approve of McConnell Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Live coverage: Trump delivers State of the Union MORE (R) on Wednesday following Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyArmy calls base housing hazards 'unconscionable,' details steps to protect families Poll shows McSally, Kelly tied in Arizona Senate race Mark Kelly's campaign raises over M in days after launching Senate bid MORE's (R-Ariz.) victory in the state's GOP Senate primary.

The president tweeted just after midnight Wednesday morning that McSally, who ran on her loyalty to the president, "rejected" an endorsement from Flake in the primary.

"Martha McSally, running in the Arizona Primary for U.S. Senate, was endorsed by rejected Senator Jeff Flake....and turned it down - a first! Now Martha, a great U.S. Military fighter jet pilot and highly respected member of Congress, WINS BIG. Congratulations, and on to November!" Trump wrote.

Flake responded just more than an hour later, refuting Trump's claim that he endorsed McSally and adding that his last endorsement was for Alabama Sen. Doug Jones (D), who defeated a Trump-backed GOP challenger, Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreDoug Jones gets challenger in Alabama Senate race Republican state official faces pushback for comments on Sinema's attire Hillicon Valley: Dem blasts groups behind Senate campaign disinformation effort | FCC chief declines to give briefing on location-data sales | Ocasio-Cortez tops lawmakers on social media | Trump officials to ease drone rules MORE.

"Sorry, @realDonaldTrump. I made no endorsement in this race. I think the last endorsement I made was in the Alabama race," he wrote.

McSally handily won Tuesday night's Arizona Senate primary, defeating GOP candidates Kelli Ward and former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was pardoned by the president earlier this year after being found in contempt of court over racially motivated traffic stops.


While Flake did not endorse McSally directly, he did express his desire for the Arizona lawmaker to prevail in the primary in comments to reporters on Tuesday.

“I think McSally will win. I hope she does. That’s the only shot that obviously Republicans have to hold on to the seat, but it’s even difficult then. This is going to be a hard-fought general election,” Flake said.

"I think long term if we don’t appeal to a broader electorate and quit trying to drill down harder on the base and just, you know, give into the politics of anger and resentment, we’re gonna lose big time long term,” he added.