Flake: Trump has 'unfortunately' redefined Republican Party

Flake: Trump has 'unfortunately' redefined Republican Party
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakePoll: More voters oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination than support it Ford opens door to testifying next week Police arrest nearly two dozen Kavanaugh protesters MORE (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE has “unfortunately” redefined the Republican Party, and reiterated his calls for the president to face a primary challenge in 2020. 

Flake said on ABC’s “This Week” that Rep. Mark SanfordMarshall (Mark) Clement SanfordMulvaney: Trump regularly asks why Roy Moore lost Dems vow to grab Trump tax returns upon taking majority Insurgency shakes up Democratic establishment MORE’s (R-S.C.) primary defeat last week served as a stark indication of where the party stands. 

“You can’t, as a Republican these days, stand in opposition to some of the president’s policies, or not condone his behavior and expect to win a Republican primary,” Flake said.

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“Now I don’t think that will last, but that is a reality right now,” he added.

Sanford, who was often critical of Trump's rhetoric but generally supported his policies, lost his primary last week to state Rep. Katie Arrington, who aligned herself closely with the president.

Trump tweeted hours before the polls closed, urging voters to reject Sanford. He later mocked the South Carolina lawmaker during a meeting with other GOP representatives. 

Flake, who is retiring when his term ends in January, has also been among the most vocal critics of the president. On Sunday, he re-emphasized his suggestion that another Republican should challenge Trump in the 2020 presidential election. 

Flake has not indicated whether he will run, but said a GOP candidate should do so “just to remind Republicans what it means to be conservative or Republican.”