Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is vulnerable ahead of next year's November's midterms. His conservative challenger Kelli Ward has drawn notable endorsements, including, most recently, former White House Strategist Stephen Bannon, and is ahead of Flake in early polling.
Yet, Flake has not dialed back his critique of President Trump.
In an interview with Politico, Flake opposed Trump's policies, this time throwing his colleagues in for good measure.
Flake chastised Trump’s protectionist trade positions and his party’s attempt to “scapegoat” immigrants for the country’s economic problems. And unlike other GOP senators, Flake publicly agrees with the sentiments of retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who recently blasted the president for potentially leading the country toward “World War III” with his erratic tweets and foreign policy pronouncements.
Flake added that Trump's foreign policy is far from conservative and has sullied our international reputation.
“A conservative foreign policy, in my view, is measured and sober and predictable,” he said. “And that’s not what we’ve had. And that’s what concerns me.”
Before this harsh rebuke, Flake penned a book called Conscience of a Conservative that was news to even some of his staff. In it, he warns about the direction of the Republican Party with President Trump at the helm. Under his watch, he suggested, the GOP has dangerously peddled protectionism, isolationism, and xenophobia.
The president used a campaign rally in Arizona to respond to the senator's attacks, saying that Flake (without naming him) was "weak" on borders and weak on crime.
Ward's ads has so far been pretty effective, telling voters that Flake "is not the conservative he claims to be." His critiques of Trump, for instance, have been featured in Hillary Clinton campaign spots.