Former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), an outspoken critic of President Trump, joined “CBS This Morning” Tuesday and confirmed that he is not running for president in 2020. He also discussed his new role as a CBS contributor in a series on “Common Ground.”
"I've always said that I do hope that there is a Republican who challenges the president in the primary,” he said. “I still hope that somebody does, but that somebody won't be me. I will not be a candidate."
"There really isn’t a path right now that I could see certainly unless you’re willing to be out there already raising a lot of money,” he explained. “And basically living on the road right now. It’s a difficult path anyway the RNC and the president's campaign are now melded. They're trying to do everything they can to squelch any opposition."
“I’m not a fan of this president,” he emphasized, saying he does hope that President Trump faces a tough primary challenge in 2020.
You thought about running in 2020. Are you going to run?— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 29, 2019
"I have always said that I do hope that there is a Republican who challenges the president in the primary. I still hope that somebody does, but that somebody won't be me. I will not be a candidate." -- @JeffFlake pic.twitter.com/YX1LtXzEBX
Regarding his new series “Common Ground,” Flake said that it will focus on areas of unity for Democrats and Republicans.
"Common ground might be dead in Washington, but it's alive and well everywhere else – on city councils, in state legislatures, any kind of association or group, people find common ground. It just often doesn't translate into something in Washington," he said.
He gave the example of criminal justice reform in Texas translating to action on the issue in Washington.
"It was one of the rare examples where common ground found at the local level translated into action in Washington,” he said. “There can be many more examples of that. And that's what this series will look at, those areas of common ground around the country."
Flake’s former colleagues in the Senate probably wished he could’ve found “common ground” with them by not obstructing President Trump’s judicial nominees over the Senate leadership’s refusal to hold a vote on a bill to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
His announcement that he will not run for president is not a shock given that he was a wildly unpopular senator in Arizona after serving a single term. Flake also polled the lowest of any potential primary challenger to President Trump in a recent poll.