GOP senator: I wish Republicans had stood up to birtherism

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeJeff Flake becoming Harvard fellow Democrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Amash gets standing ovation at first town hall after calling for Trump's impeachment MORE (R-Ariz.) in an interview broadcast Sunday said he wished the Republican Party had stood up to birtherism.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd discussed Flake’s new book about conservatism and asked the Arizona senator if the GOP is afraid to put country over party.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Well, I do think that we've seen more people ready to stand up. And I wish that we, as a party, would have stood up, for example, when the birtherism thing was going along. A lot of people did stand up but not enough,” Flake told Todd.

Flake said the birther movement, a conspiracy theory that claimed former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden, Eastland and rejecting the cult of civility Biden lays out immigration priorities, rips Trump for 'assault on dignity' Democrats not keen to reignite Jerusalem embassy fight MORE was not born in the United States, “was particularly ugly.”

President Trump had promoted the theory for years, before rejecting it during the 2016 presidential campaign.

"President Barack Obama was born in the United States," Trump said at the end of a campaign event last September. "Period."

Flake on Sunday also denounced the “lock her up” chants about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck The Memo: All eyes on faltering Biden ahead of first debate Trump says he's not prepared to lose in 2020 MORE, which could be heard at Trump rallies during the 2016 election

The Arizona lawmaker, who has not shied away from criticizing Trump and his own party, has been completing a media blitz promoting his new book, “Conscience of a Conservative.” He has argued that the GOP is in denial about the first few months of Trump’s presidency.