Jeff Flake's retirement is a big win for Donald Trump

The president also seems to be obsessed with standing ovations

Published October 25, 2017 9:51AM (EDT)

 (Getty/Win McNamee)
(Getty/Win McNamee)

President Donald Trump is publicly gloating about Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake's decision to leave the Senate — and privately saying it's because of him.

In a series of tweets Wednesday morning, the president lashed out at Flake, as well as another Republican senator, Bob Corker of Tennessee, saying their decisions to depart the Senate are because they couldn't be re-elected.

The attack came in the middle of a tweetstorm in which Trump, among other things, bragged that he was the recipient of a "love fest with standing ovations."

Privately, Trump has been saying that the Republican Party's crumbling is because of him, according to the Associated Press. The attitude is similarly celebratory among Trump's powerful backers, such as the pro-Trump Super PAC Great America Alliance.

"Today’s announcement from Sen. Flake that he would not run for re-election is a monumental win for the entire Trump movement and should serve as another warning shot to the failed Republican establishment that backed Flake and others like them that their time is up," Great America Alliance Senior Adviser Andy Surabian told the AP.

Flake admitted in an interview on CNN's "New Day" on Wednesday that it was "very difficult to be re-elected in the Republican Party right now," although he insisted that it was more important to stand up to Trump than to always please GOP voters.

"It doesn't matter the policies that you adopt or your votes — it's if you're with the president, and I can't be with the president at all times. I'm sorry, I think when the president is wrong, you have to call him out, and sometimes he's wrong. And that's what I tried to point out in the speech yesterday," Flake told CNN.

Flake said in a speech on Tuesday he would no longer be "complicit or silent" about the president's "reckless, outrageous and undignified" behavior.

Trump's missives against Flake also included swipes at Corker, another target of Trump's intra-party feuds. Corker said Tuesday, "For young people to be watching, not only here in our country, but around the world, someone of this mentality as president of the United States is something that is, I think, debasing to our country."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Bob Corker Donald Trump Jeff Flake Republican Party