Donald Trump Clashes With Arizona GOP Senator in Closed-Door Meeting
"I’m the other senator from Arizona – the one that wasn’t captured," Flake said.
— -- Donald Trump's private meeting with Senate Republicans today was supposed to mend fences on Capitol Hill, but it ended with a clash between the presumptive GOP nominee and Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake.
The spat, first reported by the Washington Post, began when Trump remarked that Flake had been critical of him in the past. “Yes, I’m the other senator from Arizona -- the one that wasn’t captured -- and I want to talk to you about statements like that,” Flake told Trump in the closed-door meeting, the senator confirmed to ABC News.
He was referring to Trump’s comments last year when the real estate mogul questioned whether senior Arizona Sen. John McCain was a war hero because he had been captured.
“When he attacks the other senator from Arizona, John McCain, and attacks his war record by saying I don't respect people who get captured, that's -- what an awful, awful thing to say about a war hero, a true war hero,” Flake said.
Trump then predicted that Flake wouldn’t win his re-election bid, despite him not being up for re-election in 2016.
The interaction, which Flake labeled as “tense” to reporters, comes as Trump tried to encourage elected officials on Capitol Hill today to wholeheartedly back his presidential bid, despite concerns over his comments and focus.
“And I don't think that we can be dismissive of that kind of statement. You don't talk about somebody who spent five years as a POW and didn't -- could have come home earlier if he used his status because of who his father was,” Flake continued.
While he said he won’t join the “Never Trump” movement and definitely won’t vote for Hillary Clinton, he maintained that he can’t support Trump given his behavior up to this point.
“I mentioned in there that I'm not in the ‘Never Trump’ movement. I want to support our nominee, I really do. But given some of the statements that have been made, I'm finding it difficult,” Flake said.
Arizona has traditionally been a GOP stronghold, but ABC News has rated the state only “Leans Republican” for the 2016 cycle because of the growing number of Hispanics and Trump’s comments throughout his campaign on immigration.
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