what's is going to happen in these races. mitch mcconnell said steve bannon is out there supporting people who won't get elected. democrats are raising a ton of money right now. if next year sets up as a referendum on donald trump, i don't know if steve bannon will be bragging. >> might have help from republicans. thanks to everyone that joined us today. that does it for our hour. i'm nicole. "mtp daily" starts are the now with chuck. hi, chuck. >> nicole, wow. >> yeah. you have jeff flake, right? >> i have jeff flake here in a few minutes. >> i'm going to race to a tv. >> excellent, and whatever question you have, text me now i'll ask him, i promise. if it's tuesday, is it the day the republican establishment officially fell apart? tonight an extraordinary day in the united states senate. republican jeff flake of arizona calls it quits. but calls out president trump while he does it. >> mr. president, i rise today to say, enough.
>> this on the same day that another republican senator, this one named bob corker goes after the president again and again and again. >> his motto is to divide and to attempt to bully and to use untruths. >> two so-called establishment republicans basically saying, i've had it with the president, and i can't do this anymore. >> if i have been critical, it is because i believe it is my obligation to do so. and as a matter and duty of conscience. >> you would think he would aspire to be the president of the united states and act like a president of the united states. >> and the winner in all of this could be president trump, who now is sure to be rid of two republicans who were sharply critical of his campaign and his presidency. did we just see the trump wing of the republican party triumph in the first fight in this republican civil war?
>> when he gets hit, he's going to hit back. >> this is "mtp daily," and it starts right now. ♪ well, in a congressional year of impossibles, we have seen the improbable -- is it the other way around. apologies. good evening i'm chuck todd in washington. welcome to "mtp daily." hit a breaking point today. today may be the day the republican establishment came apart in its battle against president donald trump. in a blistering speech against the president arizona republican jeff flake announced on the senate floor that he is not running for re-election next year. >> reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as telling it like it is, when it is actually just reckless, outrageous and undignified.
and when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else. it is dangerous to a democracy. mr. president, i rise today to say, enough. >> senator flake will join me in just a moment. his speech came after republican senator bob corker who recently said that he too was not running for re-election crisscrossed the air waves today and unloaded on the president at nearly every chance he could. whether it was on nbc abc, cbs, cnn, msnbc, or simply with print reporters chasing him around capitol hill. and he did it multiple times. >> do you think the president is debasing the nation? >> i don't think there is any question. but that's the case. just in the way that he conducts himself and goes to such a low level. just, i do. you would think he would aspire to be the president of the united states and act like a president of the united states, but, you know, that's just not
going to be the case apparently. look, i've seen no evolution in an upward way. i mean he's -- matter of fact i would say it appears to me that it's almost devolving. i think world lead remembers very aware that -- leaders are very aware that much of what he says is untrue. >> folks, floss other way to put it. it's obviously a big deal two key establishment republicans, are telling the party it cannot submit to trumpism. but they are also making the decision to give up the fight to stop it from happening. what's the consequence here? for now, trump is likely going to get republicans, if they do win and replace corker and flake who are perhaps as conservative or more, but more importantly, more loyal to replace flake and corker next year. that is something that the white house today actually sounded like it was looking forward too. >> do you know if there was any
reaction to the news that flake won't seek re-election. >> i think based on previous statements and certainly based on the lack of support that he has from the people of arizona it's probably a good move. imagine how incredible and how many good things we would be doing if people like senator bob corker got on board and started doing their job instead of doing so much grand standing on tv. >> folks, it was a remarkable day in a year of remarkable days because while flake has consistently been a trump critic bob corker was not. he was a close ally of the president or the establishment guy that tried to be. he appeared at campaign rallies when no other members of the establishment at the time would. he was even in the running to be mr. trump's running mate or his secretary of state. that's not just sort of after the fact spin. as chairman of the powerful formulations committee he worked closely with the administration or at least he's tried to. after nine months he's clear seen enough and had enough. the president responded to
corker via twitter. he call him incompetent, lightweight, mocking him as liddle bob corker and saying he couldn't be elected dog catcher in his home state of tennessee. corker responded, same untruths from an unerly untruthful president, #alert the day-care center. >> the president's former top strategist steve bannon declared war on the republican establishment that mccain, bush, corker and flake represent on bannon's side right now, they look like they are win, at least they think they are oning because corker mccain bush and flake now have wul one thing in common, none of them are running in 2018 and many of them may not be in the united states senate after that. one of them joins me now, senator jeff flake.
senator, wow, what a day. let me ask you this, why did you decide to announce your decision today. >> as soon as we decide as a family, why wait. things like this tend to leak out. and so we decided to go forward. but this has been a tough decision to make. i'm not leaving because i'm sour on the institution. i love the senate. i love the people here. this is a good place to be. it's a wonderful job to have. and it's an honor to represent the state of arizona. so it's not that. it's just that i don't see a path forward for a traditional republican like me, a traditional conservative like me in the current republican party because of the nominating process that we have. and i just felt i couldn't run the kind of race i would be proud of and win, frankly. that's the bottom line. >> did you think of running as an independent? it felt like of all people that could pull off an inrun in their state and the state of arizona
has a very large unaffiliated voting group -- did you ponder doing that? >> i don't know. we didn't test it. i haven't considered that seriously. there is an old saw that running as an independent is the future, and it will always be the future. i don't know if that's a viable path. but something's got to break this log jam. we cannot continue to have the republican party go this direction. that's a concern i have. that's why i wrote the book earlier this year. >> right. >> and i remain very concerned. >> how much pressure did you feel from -- look, i'll be honest. i heard a lot of chatter over the last two weeks that you are getting extraordinary pressure from corey gardner, from mitch mcconnell to basically say we empathize with you, we know that you are principled about you can't win, and your presence will mean a roy moore type figure could win, and that was their fear. is that what talked you out of this? >> no.
no. not at all. i have a great relationship with both cory gardner and with the leader. this was a decision that i came to along with my family. so that's not it. it is difficult. i couldn't see a path forward and run the kind of race i would be proud of. >> you are not running simply -- you could not figure out a way to win, that's why you are not running pure and simple. >> not and run the kinds of race i would be proud of. >> right. >> i mean, there was -- people can put forward a path to victory but that involves agreeing with all of the president's positions and condoning his behavior. and i can't run like that. i just -- i can't. so there was no path forward for me with those -- with that kind of scenario. >> you come january '19 neither you nor bob corker have been in the united states' senate. both of you have been trying to sound an alarm.
you are not alone, john mccain, there are others doing this. do that cross your mine, if this is a civil war inside your party that you are handing them a victory by walking away. >> yes, i did. that is what was very difficult. but the prospect of going through the next year and like i said, the path to victory in a republican primary these days is to agree with the president, not just his policies, but the behavior as well, and not to speak out. and i can't do that. i don't think that we as a party should do that. if we do, we'll learn soon enough that resentment is not a governing philosophy, and it's only a matter of time where we're going to be in the minority again. and i'm here to accomplish something, not just to mark time. and if i seem to calculate every move that i make or decision i
make or policy i take with can i be reelected here -- i mean, obviously there are considerations that every politician has to make. but in this regard, it's just too much. and i cannot, you know, be quiet. i haven't been during the campaign. the last campaign as well as during my time since the president took office. and i can't simply be quiet now. >> what message does it send to your colleagues who maybe share your concerns -- >> right. >> -- but see how basically how badly this played in your state? how it sort of beat you up politically. it put you in a vice, right, a virtual vice. and they say you know what, i want to speak out but i saw what happened to flake. i'm not doing it now. >> well, at some point, this fever will break. at some point, this spell will be off. and people will realize where
are we? what are we doing? we have got to accomplish something here. we have big problems that we need to fix. and we can't do that if we are exhibiting the kind of behavior that's exhibited and taking the positions that are being taken. so i do think that it's going to be people out there just saying we've had enough. it's enough. we aren't there yet, but i think we will ultimately at some point get there. >> who is we when you say we? who are you refer to? >> when we get there, i think the republican party. i am a talking about my party. >> yeah. >> i'm very concerned about where we are. that's why like i said i wrote a book about it, about abandoning principles this we've had that have animated the party for years and instead, you know, turning to base-directed politics of resentment. and i just any that's no way forward for the long term. >> why is it that -- here's what i hear. you are not alone among
republicans in the senate. and you are not -- it's not a couple of others that share your view. it's a lot of others that share your view. but only about three or four are willing to be public about it. why is there no linking arms here? you know, if 30 of you came out and said enough is enough, that would be something. >> i hope we get there. it was mentioned earlier -- there was a bit of a parallel back in the 1950s during the mccarthy era. and it took a hearing where it was welch, joseph welch of the chief counsel for the army to come out and he said have you no decency, sir, or this is enough. there was a turning point, a tipping point. there are hinges of history that, you know, that happen. i hope we're nearing that. i hope there are enough people who will stand up. and i think as elected leaders it's our responsibility to do that and not just wait for the
ground swell and wait for the people to direct us. we ought to actually lead. >> well, there is way that congress can change this. do you think congress should be pursuing every avenue to get president trump out of office? >> no. i don't want to go down that road. i think that we ought to simply require more of our commander in chief and our leader. but i don't think that we're going to extra measures like that, 25th amendment or something people talk about. i'm not one of those. >> do you think he's fit for office? >> i have deep concerns about the president. but he was elected fair and square. and he has the office. i hope to nudge him in a different direction. i hope that that pivot that we have been waiting for for far
too long actually happens but i think we can conclude nine months in that it's not going to. >> do you think character still counts in politics. >> yes, do i. >> or is this proof that it doesn't, though? >> no, i do. i think overall -- i say there is a fever that i think is going on now that will abate and people will return. and we all have to face our kids and our grandkids and answer the question what did you say? and i do think that there's a kuk cumulative effect of these policies and behaviors that will cause more people to stands up and stay we've had enough. >> what does this mean to your vote in the united states senate? i ask this because you obviously are prioritizing character over some -- look in some ways you and the president may agree on 70% of these issues. >> sure. you bet. >> you have made a character judgment. i guess my question is when does that impact your vote in the united states senate?
>> well, i have served under republican and democratic presidents. i have tried to vote my conscience with all of them. i have agreed with president obama on some things, disagreed on many things. but with president trump, it's the same thing. i like the judge he put forward for the supreme court. i've helped with other circuit court and district court judges. with regard to daca, the president has said that he wants to fix that. i believe we should. i believe the kids that cross the border through no fault of their own deserve to be protected. so i'll certain work with the president on that issue if we can. i hope we can get some good tax reform. and i hope to work with the president on that. but on some things, on trade issues, i'll certainly oppose him. >> what do you say to folks that say you know what, you are enabling him. you have made this character -- look, and i would push back at those same people and say hey who went to the fire -- who went to the well more than anybody else. but there are folks saying, hey, even supporting things you agree
w you are just normalizing his behavior. what do you say to that? >> i'd say we have a system of government here with separation of powers. we have our role, the article one branch, the legislature, and i'm trying to fulfill that. i think that we've abdicated a lot of our responsibilities like for example, going 16 years without passing a new authorization for use of military force. i put forward one of those a bipartisan one with tim kaine that i think is gaining a lot of momentum right now. there are thing we ought to work on in congress, some thing with need to work with administration on. but president signs legislation, he usually doesn't craft it. we have got to pass legislation that he will sign. >> all right. i know you are a free market capitalist which means i have to pay for this. if you can stick around quickly i have a few more questions after the break. fair enough, senator? >> i -- not sure. i'm not sure. we'll try. >> fair enough.
we'll make it a quick break. thank you. we'll be right back with more from senator flake. and it's also a story about people. people who rely on us every day to deliver their dreams they're handing us more than mail they're handing us their business and while we make more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country, we never forget... that your business is our business the united states postal service. priority: you ♪ hi. so i just got off the phone with our allstate agent, and i know that we have accident forgiveness. so the incredibly minor accident that i had tonight... four weeks without the car. okay, yep. good night. with accident forgiveness, your rates won't go up just because of an accident. switching to allstate is worth it. your rates won't go up just because of an accident. with flavors you'll love.re like new savory grilled mediterranean shrimp. and new sweet and spicy nashville hot shrimp. plus our classics like garlic shrimp scampi. try as much as you want however you want 'em, but don't wait, it ends soon.
welcome back. capitalism at work. welcome back to "mtp daily." let me go back to somebody who i know is very procapitalism, senator jeff flake. thank you. you laid out all the reasons why you believe the party fell into this trap of trump in many ways. so how do you dig out of it if the president himself doesn't believe he has made any error on character? >> oh, that is going to be difficult. it really is. i don't know. i think all we can do is you know be examples ourselves and call out behavior that's unbecoming and model good behavior ourselves. look for the good, assume the best, and move ahead. >> is there -- do you look back -- i know you do because you spent a whole book doing it. >> right. >> do you feel as if the leadership of the republican party hasn't demanded enough
from both candidate trump and now president trump? >> yeah. i -- i mentioned we have kind of been through this before. in the book i talk about being this majority in the house during the period 2001 to 2006. i thought at that time there are some parallels to today. the other day when these protests in the nfl were coming on, i thought back, and i wrote about it in the book, that i knew we were in trouble as a party when we were spending on earmarking so badly and prescription drug benefits and whatever else. we lost the mantle of fiscal discipline as a party. so what did we do? we started to argue about things like flag burning or terry schiavo. and the wedge issues, the cultural issues. and then you know, we're doing that now. and that -- that doesn't -- >> do you see that as a sign of weakness? >> yes, i do. i do. i think that -- i mean
republicans, we have always stood for limited government, economic freedom, free trade. and those issues, when we real low can't claim that mantle now then you kinds of have to rile up the base. and that's what we are seeing with some of the actions that the president has taken. and you may be able to win an election here or there, but as i've said before, resentment is not a governing philosophy. and at some point you actually have to govern, and you have to have competencieies in governin and move ahead with certain policies that really have animated the party for generations. i thinkological we return to that we are going to be in trouble electorally. >> where do you go? you determined you couldn't do what you wanted to do the right way at the ballot box? what do you do next? how do you keep the fight up if you want to keep this fight up in january of '19.
>> for the next 14 months i'm going to have this battle this the senate and i'll certainly speak up as much as i can. beyond that time, i don't know. i have been in in washington in the house and the senate by january '19 it will be 18 years. there are other ways to serve. i love the said of arizona would love to serve in other capacities or do other things. i'm certainly going to be speaking up on these topics. we have to as a country. we have big issues and challenges that we need to some. as i know, i have been very concerned. you talk about it a lot, about the vanishing middle, the number of people who have crossed the aisle and actually vote. i went to a desserted island with a democrat just to prove that republicans and democrats can get along. so i've gone to extreme lengths to prove that point. it's going to have to happen. i know we are dealing with tax reform right now. i was talking with george schultz the other day, president
reag reagan's former secretary of state. he's 96 years old, follows everything going on, very astutd. he said to me, you know, we got 97 votes for the tax reform package in '86, that seems like a galaxy far, far away. but it was when the parties would decide let's share the political risk when it's something that's going to gore a lot of people's objection. but it needs to be done. >> it seems as if we are in a zero sum game and somebody has to be a loser. >> that's it. and i think this started before this president. i saw it in the house during the period i was there, where our leadership, if if choithe choics to pass legislation with a lot of democrats or pass it with a narrow majority or try to use it against, there was a comingel to beat the other party.
both parties engaged in that over the past decade a lot more than we should have rather than come together and say let's share the credit and let's share the risk. we are going to have to do that and i hope to be part of that effort. >> do you see the president inside the republican party for 2020? do you think this needs to be a debate, his character, his populism need to be at the ballot box as part of this debate come 2020? >> it will be whether i think so or not. it will be. it always is. that's what campaigns and elections are about. and i didn't support the president in the last election. he's not done anything that would cause me to support him more now. i know politics has become quite tribal and we kind of resort to our corners and our parties, but i hope that we have a spirited campaign and that we actually see a contrast of what, you know, perhaps a republican who holds to the ideals that have
animated our party for years and also has the decency that we should expect out of our commander in chief. >> should we put on a list of somebody that may think about running for national office some day? >> i don't think i'm on anybody's list. >> i understand that. should we add you? >> people with the last name of flake can only go so far. let's get real. >> final question is this, senator, and then i'll let you go. i know on one hand you are humoring us here and i appreciate it. what should the american public take away from the fact that you, bob corker, john mccain, george w. bush in a span of eight days seemed to sound an alarm about donald trump that was beyond ideology? what should the public take away from the collective criticism of the four of you? >> i think there is a cumulative effect that comes after nine months, you know, if we are still waiting for a pivot, i
think we can conclude it's not coming. and so it's time to actually, you know, be tougher here and actually have more people stand up. >> what does that mean? are you managing him? is it a containment strategy? what does this mean going forward with donald trump if you don't think he is going the change. >> we have a good system of government here, the separation of powers. we shouldn't act as if we rely on the president. we pass legislation, and he signs it. we have our role, and we ought to assert it. and there are many things that we need to really assert ourselves more with. i mentioned before, the authorization for use of military force. >> right. >> that's something that we've got tie cert ourselves more. but i think that we've got to step up our efforts in that regard. and i mean recognize that there are differences here that we have in policy and certainly
comportment, and move ahead and model better behavior ourselves. >> well, i will be biased about this, character should always count. senator flake thank you sir, appreciate it. republican from arizona, appreciate all your time. what a day. we'll be right back to discuss it all. you know who likes to be in control? this guy. check it out! self-appendectomy! oh, that's really attached. that's why i rent from national. where i get the control to choose any car in the aisle i want, not some car they choose for me. which makes me one smooth operator. ah! still a little tender. (vo) go national. go like a pro.
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as we've said, neither of the senators who were speaking out against president trump today are running for reelection. but earlier in afternoon i spoke to a republican senator who is still on the ballot next year and who is still tasting a primary challenge of his own, roger whitacre of mississippi. i get the sense that this divide is less about policy and more about style, pugilism, whatever you want to call it. what -- i mean because i'm old enough to remember when jeff flake was the conservative in any race that he would get involved in and whenever conservative -- truly conservative groups, you know the groups well, whether it's clubs for growth, jeff tlak was a guy who if he got criticism
from washington it was because he was being too stubborn, not a team player enough but from the right. this is not about ideology but it's about character. does the president's character bother you. >> for one thing, i think jeff flake has always been a strong conservative and still is. you mentioned a divide. chuck, i would just have to say there's not much of a divide in the republican conference in the united states senate. we have our eyes on some pretty big achievements, and as a matter of fact, the president talked about them today. there's a popular misconception that this nine months of the trump administration hasn't accomplished much with this republican majority. and he went chapter and verse to sort of celebrate the things that we have been able to do. so i would challenge the premise of your question that there is a divide. certainly there have been two or three people who have been outspoken in our conference. but that luncheon today was
comprised of a bunch of allies who are trying to move us in a better direction for united states and who appreciate the president's leadership. >> so does the president's character -- because this is what is obviously the issue for senators flake and corker. does his character bother you? does it bother you the way the president conducts himself in office? this is not about policy positions. i think it's pretty clear this is about character. >> well, okay, you have characterized their statements as dealing with the president's character. i wouldn't do that. again, i'm at a disadvantage because i didn't -- i haven't read the book. i have only read excerpts of it. and i don't know what the speech today said. but i think most of us in the conference are very comfortable with the direction that this chief executive of our nation and this head of our party wants to take us. we need to tackle tax reform.
and then we need get back to repealing and replacing obamacare and we need to put some more judges on the bench and get the president's team in place. >> you are tip toeing. >> and 95% of us are united on that. >> it's interesting, the way you framed senator jeff flake, you said he should have known the backlash to his book. >> i think probably did. >> my question, do you feel like you have to tip toe around the president, you have to be careful how you criticize him. >> no. >> because you are afraid of what he might do on twitter? >> no. the answer to that is no. >> so what are you -- you seem to say that it was flake that provoked him. >> well, okay. jeff wrote a book, he didn't even tell his staff he was doing it. it was quite provocative based on the excerpts and the news articles i have seen about it. and he obviously knew that this was going to be a bombshell.
i mean he's a big boy and i think he knew what he was doing. >> you don't think the president has played a role in this? do you think it was necessary the president didn't take the high road with bob corker today? >> i don't know what exchanges took place today after the lunch on bob corker. i will say this. i do not see how this chairman of the foreign relations committee thinks this exchange is helpful to american foreign policy. and i haven't asked bob about that. >> right. >> but if he had asked me my advice i would have counselled against getting into this sort of spitting contest. >> is it going to be hard for you to explain to constituents why bob corker keeps his committee chairmanship, why john mccain who has been critical keeps his? do you think that should be a litmus test that if you get -- at some point should there be a
litmus test when it comes to a committee chairmanship? >> chuck, i don't think that's being discussed. it would be a question being asked by the press and by some of the blogs. >> right. >> but we don't operate as a dictatorship in the republican conference. and that's -- i really have not heard that discussed among members. >> and when your name comes up for primary challenges one of the things that people remind -- i think some of your staffers remind, you have voted with the president some 94, 95% of the time. i don't have the exact figure in front of me. >> i think it's 95.9. >> fair enough. 95.9, to be exact. let me ask you this, chris mcdaniel, who may challenge you in a primary, he would say your fireable offense is sticking by mcconnell. how would you answer that question? >> i'm going to say i'm going to run hard for re-election as i always have, i'm going to run on
my accomplishments, which are numero numerous, and we are going to take a race seriously. but we are prepared to run. and if we have a general election or a primary opponent, i'm going to make the case as i always have done. >> and where are you on mitch mcconnell? do you think he should stay as leader? >> yes, i do. and as a matter of fact, the president today went chapter and verse about the numbers of ways that the leader had helped the president, helped his team, helped his agenda, not the least of which is the way we are absolute stall words during 2016 on supreme court issue and actually made the presidential election about the direction of the supreme court for the next generation. i think you can look at that leadership and i was glad to be part of it, and you can say that kneel gore such is a member of
the supreme court now because of the team that we put together and the fact that we were steadfast in refusing to take up president obama's nominee. >> and i know the president called you among a couple other senators to reassure you that if steve bannon wants to run against you -- are you confident president trump is going to support you no matter who runs against you? >> i would sure hope so. of course that's been reported. i declined to comment to the press about any phone call. but let me just say i do support the president's program, and i have the votes to prove it. and i would certainly welcome his support and suggestions and good wishes as i run for re-election. >> senator roger wicker republican from mississippi. i will leave it there, simplt thanks for coming on, appreciate it. >> thank you. there you have it. you have heard from sort of both wings in this civil war, the election that no one ever seems to win. we'll be right back. w sooner or every chip will crack.
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welcome back. tonight i'm obsessed with the idea that senator bob corker could not get elected dog catcher, at least according to a tweet by president trump this morning. it got us thinking, does anyone get elected dog catcher anymore? it turns out president trump is right. bob corker could not get elected dog catcher neither could you nor i, no one can. it's not an elected position.
these days. the old job of dog catcher is enveloped into what we call as animal control. but early in the 20th century they were elected in missouri. and in 1908 in pennsylvania. there was even a case as recent as 1963 in willow brook, kansas. as for bob corker he was elected mayor of chat noouk new englanda and then elected twice to the u.s. senate for tennessee. it's not clear whether dog catching was part of his job as mayor. there may be a technicality there. we'll be right back. don't let these young guys see you fold. ♪ i'm only human ♪ i make mistakes get down! ♪ i'm only human ♪ it's all it takes ♪ don't put the blame on me thank you for looking after my son. we're brothers. we look after each other. thank you for your service. rated r. in theaters friday.
beth, what do you make of today? >> here's my big takeaway among -- there are so many takeaways from this entire day. senator flake said to you he is leaving he is a republican who believe this is the free markets n small government, free trade, and immigration. all of those things summarily rejected by republican voters. senator flake and these establishment republicans think they are presiding over a party of ideas that are not shared by their voters, 100% not shared. free trade makes people think about lost jobs. smaller government, losing health care, entitlements. free market, that's what killed the jobs in 2009 and plunged us into recession. that is not where the republican voters are. yes you have made this a discussion about character which it certainly is on behalf of the president. but it's also a discussion of where the republican party, it is a not where senator flake or corker is. >> on the show on sunday, our data download was about how boy,
where trump overperformed it delivered him more votes than in the so-called establishment republican counties. that is beth's point here, are the people speaking? >> i think it's something the republican party hasn't reckoned with. and it's something that we at this table never seem to touch on, which is he got elected. okay. if want to do something about the republican party you have got to figure out why he got elected and you have got to answer that mail. while i empathize with matter in flake and senator corker and i admire their eloquence and courage in speaking out against someone in their party i don't know how this is a blow in the fight to take back the republican party. calling donald trump a creep does not wrest back the soul of the republican party. >> donald trump won today? is that the conclusion? if we are looking at a total and binary choice here. we have been saying there is a fight for soul of the republican
party. who has the advantage today. >> trump in the short-term. but i think that the republican party is having this call to jesus in part because you don't have its actual leadership. don't have mcconnell, ryan coming in and saying what is hu american discourse. hurting politics. i've been traveling around the country. i've been talking to union members. i've been talking to folks in the media. serve at odds of what is happening in this country and no one in the republican party is giving voice to it. i think when we heard senator flake speak, he was having a conversation but with america's soul with a bit of sadness. i think that's where, most could argue that trump himself is not part of the republican establishment. that's what he knows how to bring in some of the independent voters and the democratic voters. he is speaking their language. the republican party is not living up to the expectation of leadership. >> what did you make of roger
wicker? the impression i got was he didn't want to answer the character question and he went out of his way not to. >> he is running in a state where the president is very popular. what stuck out to me, he was not getting into it on twitter. the president started it. he is doing everything he can to not get into the cross hairs of president trump for a good reason. you said he is very, very vulnerable to a primary challenge. trump is very popular in mississippi. he has no choice. he has to put the best face on a situation that's very dire and he is one of the people right in the cross hairs. >> what is the attitude? i say this because jeff flake, i say this because this main stream hub of conservative ideas. and what beth just ran down was a rejection over the last 30 years. >> well, first, it is just a building. >> fair enough.
nasty notes from people saying you don't represent me. i think for people like me who are in the ideas business, this is actually a fight about ideas. this is a fight about the importance of free trade. about what people call globalism which reminds me of the 1930s. it is a fight for immigration. about all of these things. but the reality is that we shouldn't lie to ourselves. we are not necessarily speaking for those people who voted for donald trump in wisconsin or michigan. wherever they did. and that's a challenge for us as well. this is washington problem. how is anybody going to fix anything for as long -- by the way, talking to silicon valley, i realize the weather is better there. >> the point there was there was a common thread regardless of what position you sit on socioeconomically in this country and everybody is saying something is sgroen senator flake gave voice to that. the fact that donald trump was
able to co-opt the agenda, there is something fundamentally broken. what we need is someone who can speak to the fears but also the hopes of the country. and donald trump is not doing that. paul ryan should be doing it. mitch mcconnell should be doing it. >> i don't understand how that answers the loss of faith in the government. that's a very big part of the populist movement. there's this loss of faith. and this sort of fighting doesn't advance that. >> president reagan said government is the problem. it is an not an attitude that has pushed forth. very mature by democrats and people who don't deal with either parties. they saw what happened with the big recession. that everything they believed in fell apart. >> why should they believe in government? >> so while we have this incredible economic growth, it has not been to a place where all the people can say i too can claim part of the middle class. >> do we in washington overrate
character? and i say this because the republican party, right now it's the democrats going, character? how come it doesn't count? and i'm old enough to remember bob dole in 1996 when he was complaining, how come character -- he thought bill clinton had a character problem. and the fact is -- >> he did. >> but the voters, they made a decision and went another direction and the voters made it. it is not like donald trump hid his character. they made a decision. are we collectively overrating character? >> what i think is significant is that people like corker and flake and others are stepping forward to remind why character matters. it is regrettable these are people walking out the door. we're not just a collection of policy positions. we're pro tax cuts and pro free trade. we are also human beings trying to stand up and adhere to some ideals. >> i think senator flake mentioned, and corker did.
everybody expected him to pivot. there was a promise he would assume presidential stat us and give gravitas to it. >> we love to talk about how disappointed we are in donald trump and what an awful guy he is and what a cream he is. i don't understand how that answers any of the demands the american people are doing. as far as character matters question, all i can say is, what my kids tell them when i tell them how much i can't stand the kardashians. you're just an old lady and you don't understand. people take off their clothes on tv and it's great. people get famous by doing search tapes and it's great. that's the question that doesn't blind the president does this sort of thing. >> donald trump was elected with all his character flaws right out there for everyone to see. it wouldn't work for everybody but it worked for him. >> was it a character issue or did we all underrate the perception of the character question on the clinton side?
i can't help note parallels between bill clinton in the 1990s and how many times we thought character would trip him up, 1992, 1996, or 2000, george bush almost got elected because of it. >> hillary clinton was putting them on the same footing. trump and clinton. she never got out of it. the deeper challenge is people could hold their nose. there was an undercurrent happening. >> and there was an amazing agreement on this. i think we've figured it out. what a day. thanks for hanging out with me. we'll be right back something you missed.
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and change the way you wifi. that's all we have for tonight. we believe you haven't missed a thing. that's what it really means. if did you miss anything, my mannari melber will have it with "the beat." >> thank you. i was watching you. right through, as you put it, that little dose of capitalism in the commercial break. >> thank you, brother. >> thank you, sir. donald trump is fighting off key defections of the republican senate. if there's a place in history for jeff flake, he may have written his final chapter just here in the past few hours. a speech that called on republicans to stand up to what he calls a dangerous menace in the white house. a speech laying out his choice of country above career. and here's a key part