FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Sunday, September 4, 2016

WATCH/READ: Flake Pulls Rare* "Daily Double", Tells TWO Sunday News Shows Still Can't Vote For Trump

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) pulled off a rare* "Daily Double" today when he was interviewed on two of the major Sunday news shows, and he repeated his key answer: "I would not vote for Hillary Clinton. And, as of now, I would still not vote for Donald Trump."

CBS' Face the Nation had him back on after host John Dickerson had grilled him just 4 weeks ago. And, Jake Tapper questioned him on CNN's State of the Union program.

He had two clever ripostes to questions about the GOP Presidential nominee's on-again-off-again-self-described "softening" regarding deportation of all immigrants in this country illegally.

TAPPER: You didn't buy Rudy Giuliani's explanation earlier this morning saying that there was a line in there that people didn't pay enough attention to that would allow for possibly a discussion of letting undocumented immigrants stay in this country after the ones who have committed other criminal acts are deported.
FLAKE: Well, if it was there it was buried pretty deep. And no, I didn't catch it.
There was just the statement that you're going back. And think of that for a bit. If you have 11 million would are undocumented here, a lot of those are children who are brought across the border when they were 2 years old, say. What he is saying is that they would all have to go back -- or this is what I heard -- and then that they would perhaps be able to come back here in the future. But if there aren't visa categories to accept those who have been deported, then they wouldn't be able to come back. Or they would have to remain out for a long period of time until some -- I guess some vague talk of a commission would create a visa category for them to come back.
And, with Dickerson, Flake said: "Some say hardening, some say softening, I say confusing."

Flake, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that has refused to hold confirmation hearings on Merrick Garland - President Obama's nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court - repeated his call to confirm Garland in a lame duck session if Donald Trump loses to Hillary Clinton. "I would like him to bring him up. I think the principle ought to be for Republicans to confirm the most conservative jurist that we're able to confirm," Flake said.








TAPPER: Noticeably absent from the event, Arizona's Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who has loudly disagreed with Trump.

And he joins us now.

Senator, good to see you. Thanks for joining us.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Thanks for having me on.

TAPPER: So, the last time we spoke, you said you did not know what you were going to do on Election Day. You must have a pretty good idea by now, though.
If the election were held today, for whom would you vote?

FLAKE: I would not vote for Hillary Clinton. And, as of now, I would still not vote for Donald Trump.

TAPPER: So, if you -- if you don't want to vote for either of them, would you vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian?

FLAKE: You can always write somebody in.

So, I just know that I would like to vote for Donald Trump. It's not comfortable to not support your nominee. But, given the positions that he has taken and the tone and tenor of his campaign, I simply can't.

TAPPER: The RNC was planning to praise Donald Trump's speech on immigration in your home state a few days ago.
FLAKE: Right.

[09:30:00]
FLAKE: Right.
TAPPER: But once officials of the RNC heard the speech, they dropped plans to praise the speech. That's pretty remarkable for the RNC not to praise a speech of the Republican nominee.

FLAKE: Well, it was a pretty remarkable speech in that it just really doubled down on a lot of the rhetoric that he has used before, and it really didn't explain with any clarity where he is going to move ahead in the future. It simply went back to some of the positions he has taken.
TAPPER: You didn't buy Rudy Giuliani's explanation earlier this morning saying that there was a line in there that people didn't pay enough attention to that would allow for possibly a discussion of letting undocumented immigrants stay in this country after the ones who have committed other criminal acts are deported.
FLAKE: Well, if it was there it was buried pretty deep. And no, I didn't catch it.
There was just the statement that you're going back. And think of that for a bit. If you have 11 million would are undocumented here, a lot of those are children who are brought across the border when they were 2 years old, say. What he is saying is that they would all have to go back -- or this is what I heard -- and then that they would perhaps be able to come back here in the future. But if there aren't visa categories to accept those who have been deported, then they wouldn't be able to come back. Or they would have to remain out for a long period of time until some -- I guess some vague talk of a commission would create a visa category for them to come back.

TAPPER: So Hillary Clinton's campaign, after the speech in Arizona, as I am sure you know, announced that they would take out a 6-figure ad buy in Arizona.
It's been 20 years since the state went for a Democratic presidential nominee. But take a look at the CNN poll it shows Trump ahead of Clinton but only by five points. Do you think that Trump is comfortably ahead, or does Clinton have a chance of winning Arizona?
FLAKE: Well it shouldn't be close. You know, we went big, I think, eight points for Mitt Romney last time. Arizona should still be a red state. But Donald Trump, with the rhetoric that he has used and the characterizations of, you know, many of the state's population have put the state in play. And unfortunately, you know, that leads to Democrats spending a lot of money here. Unfortunately for Republicans.
I think John McCain will be fine. He did very well in the primary last week. A lot of the down-ballot Republicans will be fine as long as they aren't seen as, you know, believing the same things that Donald Trump believes in

TAPPER: So you think Hillary Clinton could win Arizona potentially because of Donald Trump's rhetoric?
FLAKE: Yes. I do.
TAPPER: Senator John McCain, as you know, he's up for re-election this year. Take a listen to this from his new campaign video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: If Hillary Clinton is elected president, Arizona will need a senator who will act as a check, not a rubber stamp, for the White House. (END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: It's interesting McCain presenting himself as a check on a President Clinton rather than as an ally of President Trump who -- he doesn't even mention Donald Trump in the video. Is this the right argument for Republicans to be making, essentially the same argument Republicans made in 1986 when they were convinced that Bob Dole was going to lose?
FLAKE: Well, I've said that I think Republicans do need to distance themselves from Donald Trump.
I am not suggesting that John McCain has to do that. He is running a smart campaign and he has broad and deep support here. But I do think it's a position that Republicans ought to take. We cannot, for the future of the party, be associated with this kind of message and with this kind of tone and tenor. It's just -- it's not good for the party. It really isn't.

TAPPER: When you listen to Hillary Clinton's speech about Donald Trump appealing to the darker parts of this country, appealing to racism essentially, did you agree or disagree with what she had to say?
FLAKE: Well, I have been saying that long before Hillary Clinton was talking about it. I think a lot of us have been. I think that's the problem that we have. When you -- when you refer to a judge born in Indiana as a Mexican in a pejorative way, when you refer to John McCain as he has, you can't respect him because he wasn't -- or he was captured, or you refer to those who crossed the border as rapists, you know, you just can't appeal to a broad swath of the electorate.
And so, if -- even if Republicans all lined up behind Donald Trump in Arizona, it still wouldn't be enough. You have got to appeal to swing voters, to independents. And he is just going out of his way, it seems, to offend them.
TAPPER: One last question, sir. If Hillary Clinton does win the election, would you want Mitch McConnell to bring up Merrick Garland as soon as possible for a vote during the lame duck session of Congress? Do you fear she would appoint somebody even more liberal?

FLAKE: I would like him to bring him up. I think the principle ought to be for Republicans to confirm the most conservative jurist that we're able to confirm.
[09:35:08]
And if we do lose the election then we ought to move swiftly, I think, to confirm Merrick Garland.
TAPPER: Senator Flake, always a pleasure. Thank you so much for your time, sir.
FLAKE: You bet. Thank you. TAPPER: Coming up taco takeover. A Latino Trump supporter warns the result of too much illegal immigration will be -- quote -- "taco trucks on every corner." Dangerous or delicious? That story next.
*"Rare" in that it might be a first for him, and is rare for anyone not (currently) running for office or at the very top of the news that week. Even Arizona senior Senator John McCain - once the king of Sunday news shows - did not usually go on two of the competing shows on the same day.

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2 comments:

Michael Bryan said...

Flake apparently doesnt realize that write-in candidates must file a nomination statement and financial disclosure to run. He appears to be advocating throwing your vote away.

Mitch M. said...

Interesting point, Michael. Thanks! (Though, I'm guessing there will be at least one person filing to be write-in! Maybe, he'll end up voting for Lyndon LaRouche! ;-) )