Shortly after Donald Trump came to the Senate today to sweet-talk a rapidly diminishing number of supportive Senate Republicans about his still undefined tax proposals, Arizona’s junior senator, Jeff Flake, announced his retirement. See http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/24/flake-retiring-after-2018-244114.
Flake was one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection next year. He had publicly feuded with Trump and refused to endorse him for his unlikely race for the White House. Trump’s close personal political friends the Mercers, Robert and Rebekah, have already given $300,000 to hyper conservative candidate Kelli Ward in her primary contest against Flake. Not only that, Ward has publicly urged John McCain to resign for health reasons (she ran against McCain in the primary in 2016), and she has made it very clear that she wants Gov. Doug Ducey to appoint her to succeed him. No doubt, Sen. McCain, Flake's colleague, was supporting him, but in these days of Trumpdom, the nefarious Mercer Family Foundation, which funds Breitbart’s Boast, Steve Bannon, is largely responsible for chasing Flake from the Senate. Now Arizona Republicans are scrambling to find “establishment” candidates to run against Ward.
Before this morning's hour of political theater in the Senate, Trump and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) continued their highly public spat, and that’s when Sen. Flake made his bombshell announcement.
It was all cogently explained to associate solitary reporter Johanna Jones by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “After we lost the Alabama primary to the scary Ten Commandments Judge, we needed a victory, and Flake provided it for us. You don’t mess with Donald Trump."