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Flake out: Former GOP Sen. Jeff Flake won't challenge Trump in 2020, hopes another Republican will
Image source: CBS News video screenshot

Flake out: Former GOP Sen. Jeff Flake won't challenge Trump in 2020, hopes another Republican will

Onetime Arizona senator rules out primary bid against the president

Former Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake hopes a Republican will launch a primary challenge against President Donald Trump in 2020 — but he made clear that it won't be him.

What are the details?

Speaking to "CBS This Morning" Tuesday, Flake said, "I've always said that I do hope that there is a Republican who challenges the president in this primary. I still hope that somebody does, but that somebody won't be me. I will not be a candidate."

Flake went on to say that it would be a difficult path for anyone who would launch such a bid, noting, "the [Republican National Committee] and the president's campaign are now melded. They're trying to do everything they can to squelch any opposition."

The RNC threw its "undivided support for President Donald J. Trump and his effective Presidency" last week, which The Hill said appeared to be a move "aimed at discouraging other Republicans from challenging Trump for the party's nomination in 2020."

Nonetheless, Flake told CBS, "I still hope that some — and some are still talking about it — do run. I think that that's healthy. And I'm not a fan of this president. But that won't be me."

Flake has joined CBS News as a contributor.

Politico reported that former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan are both rumored to be considering a GOP primary challenge against Trump.

Anything else?

Flake has been an outspoken and frequent critic of Trump and fueled speculation that he might launch a bid against the president when he traveled to New Hampshire to test the waters last March. He told the media at the time that he had not ruled out the possibility of challenging the president in 2020 and blasted Trump as an "erratic leader" during a speech, according to Fox News.

Addressing an audience at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, Flake criticized Trump's foreign policy and further accused the president of replacing "the State Department with Twitter."

President Trump has also leveled his fair share of criticism toward Flake several times through tweets, calling the former senator weak and unelectable, among other things.

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