Flake: Republicans don't speak out against Trump 'because they want to keep their jobs'

Former Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism MORE (R-Ariz.) said on Monday that some Republican senators don’t speak out against President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE’s behavior because they’re afraid of how it could affect their chances at the ballot box. 

“Do you think, senator, that you should have spoken up more? Do you regret that you didn’t speak up more? And why is it so difficult for Republicans to speak up against this president when they don’t believe what he’s doing?” host Gayle KingGayle KingThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump, GOP senators at odds over next stimulus bill Minneapolis police union says members have been 'scapegoated by political leaders' Fox News, CBS morning show hosts return to broadcast studios MORE asked Flake on "CBS This Morning."

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“Well, because they want to keep their jobs, and the president is extremely popular among Republican primary voters,” Flake said. “That is a subset of a subset of a subset. But they are those who decide who represents the party and the general election.” 

Flake, who was very vocal in his criticism of Trump until the Arizona Republican retired from the Senate in 2018, was also pressed about comments he made last year in an op-ed in which he said that Senate Republicans will also be on trial when the upper chamber takes on Trump’s impeachment case.

“They are, in a sense, because this president won’t be there forever,” Flake said. “He’ll either be gone this time next year or four years from now. Then what happens to the Republican Party?”

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“My fear is people out there know that, even if this is not an impeachable offense, that the president did something wrong and for Republicans to maintain that he didn’t is just wrong,” he continued. “And this has long-term ramifications for the party if we act as if we are just devoted to the president no matter what out of this cult of personality that we’ve seen. We certainly saw it in the House.”

He was also asked about his past criticism of Trump while serving in Congress and whether he wished he would have done things differently then. 

“You always look back and say I could have done this differently or that,” he said.

“But I did speak up and I decided that I would have to condone behavior I couldn’t condone or accept positions I couldn’t accept if I wanted to win reelection. That’s why I didn’t," he added.