President Donald Trump targeted Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) with a Thursday morning tweet calling the senator weak on immigration and crime and tacitly appearing to back the Never-Trump lawmaker’s primary challenger.
“Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He’s toxic!” Trump tweeted.
Ward, a former state senator who ran unsuccessfully against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2016 GOP primary, has been a vocal supporter of the president and his agenda.
“Thank you @realDonaldTrump Working hard so you have a conservative from AZ to help #MAGA. Arizonans excited to see you again next week!” Ward tweeted in reply.
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Flake, an ardent and vocal Never-Trumper, has been a persistent thorn in the president’s side.
The senator is currently promoting his book, which claims Trump is destroying the Republican Party and calls on Republicans to do more to subvert Trump’s presidency.
LifeZette contacted America First Action, a Trump-aligned super PAC, to see if the president’s tweet meant the group was preparing to engage in the 2018 Republican primary in Arizona — either to aid Ward or defeat Flake.
A spokesperson for the group said it had no public announcement to make at this time.
While Ward fell short in her 2016 bid to unseat McCain, her chances at toppling Flake appear much more promising.
A July Morning Consult poll of 141,000 registered U.S. voters revealed that Flake is the third-least popular senator in the country. That poll found that only 37 percent of voters approved of Flake’s job performance, while almost half — 45 percent — disapproved.
A survey of Arizona voters released on August 3 by Public Policy Polling found Flake with an approval rating of only 18 percent, while 62 percent of Arizona voters said they disapproved of the job Flake was doing.
(photo credit, homepage and article images: Gage Skidmore)