U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) has released a statement praising U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who announced Tuesday that he will not seek re-election.
Corker announced last month that he will not run again. As outspoken critics of President Trump, both Corker and Flake would have faced tough primary battles next year.
“Jeff Flake continues to stay true to his principles and fight for what he believes is right,” Corker said. “He is a true conservative, an outstanding senator and a cherished friend. I look forward to serving with him for the remainder of our terms in the Senate and know he will continue to represent the people of Arizona incredibly well.”
However, the problem for Flake is that many on the right no longer see him as a true conservative.
Conservative blogger and radio host Erick Erickson summed it up in a piece Wednesday:
Jeff Flake had a 100 percent lifetime Club for Growth record in the United States House of Representatives. He was a conservative’s conservative and stood up to the House GOP leadership. He used that reputation to catapult himself into the Senate with the backing of most every major conservative group. He towed a tough line on the budget, ObamaCare, immigration, etc.
Then he got to the Senate and promptly caved on it all. Friends of his tell me that he had no support system in the Senate. In the House, at least, there were other Club for Growth candidates. The smaller Senate with even fewer conservatives unleashed Jeff Flake’s need to be liked. He went from being a reliable Club for Growth member to a reliable Mitch McConnell member.
Erickson also took a swipe at Steve Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News and Trump’s former chief White House strategist. While Bannon has boasted recently of his mission to take down establishment Republicans, Erickson said Flake alone was responsible for his fate. He said that “both the anti-Trump and pro-Trump forces have narratives they want to push that are falsehoods.”
“I’m sorry Trump haters, but Jeff Flake is no martyr who spoke truth to power and met defeat for doing so,” Erickson wrote. “I’m sorry Trump humpers, but Steve Bannon did not defeat Jeff Flake in a game of 13 dimensional chess. The truth is Jeff Flake defeated himself.”