SPONSORED:

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

Former Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFormer GOP lawmaker: Republican Party 'engulfed in lies and fear' Grassley to vote against Tanden nomination Klain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' MORE (R-Ariz.) said on Monday that some Republican senators don’t speak out against President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee 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 KingSunday shows preview: CDC school reopening guidance stirs debate; Texas battles winter freeze Sanders spotted wearing his iconic inauguration look a week later Woman who made Sanders's mittens says she's sold out MORE asked Flake on "CBS This Morning."

ADVERTISEMENT

“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?”

ADVERTISEMENT

“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.