CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King on Tuesday speculated on a “secret” Republican candidate who might oppose Donald Trump in a 2020 GOP primary. Talking to new CBS contributor Jeff Flake, King noted, “You made it clear you were not thinking about running against Donald Trump.”
She hopefully wondered, “Is there anybody in your party who you've heard is secretly considering it that you would like to share with us today?” After the former Senator said no, King followed up: “Do you think somebody should run against him, senator?”
Back in January, This Morning co-host John Dickerson pressed Flake on whether he would run: “Before we start, I want to find out if you want anybody to call you president. You thought about running in 2020? Are you going to run?”
After getting a “no” on that, Dickerson tried again: “Did you look into being a candidate to run against the president? What did you learn from the investigation that somebody else who might run would have to consider?”
A transcript of the questions is below. Click “expand” to read more:
CBS This Morning
JOHN DICKERSON: President Trump is pushing for new border wall funding in his $4.7 trillion budget proposal. That includes $750 billion in defense spending, $8.6 billion for barriers on the southern border and cuts to domestic spending, including nearly $220 billion to the program that provides food stamps over the next decade. The former Republican Senator from Arizona Jeff flake is a CBS News contributor. Welcome, senator. We'll get to the budget in a minute. We know presidents budgets are dead on arrival when they get to Congress.
But we’ll get to that in a minute. I want to talk about something is that happened over the weekend. The conversation between two vice presidents. Former Vice President Cheney and Mike Pence. It was about foreign policy and national security. It was at the American Enterprise Institute’s gathering. This is the Republican think tank or it had been. Vice President Cheney was critical across the board about the Trump administration's foreign policy, saying it looked more like Barack Obama's. That's a bigger debate, isn't it? What do you make of it?
DICKERSON: John Bolton, who is the National Security Adviser, who is from AEI, that was puting on the weekend. So this tension even from the administration a little bit. But the President was elected to get us out of these foreign entanglements. He said George W. Bush should have been impeached for the Iraq War. So, doesn’t have a constituency too? Which is why is America getting involved in tall this messy business all around the world?
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: What's the likelihood, if we stay on foreign policy, we continue to see Venezuela descend into chaos, multiple days of blackouts. What is the likelihood if Maduro stays in power that we’ll see U.S. see troops on the groung there?
O’DONNELL: What do you think with Nancy Pelosi saying yesterday that impeachment won't happen? Did she provide cover to a number of Democrats in Trump districts?
JEFF FLAKE: Yes, she did. I think that was the purpose. She's been pretty consistent in saying she doesn't want it. I think that's a wise move on her part. She made it very clear that this isn't where we ought to go unless the evidence certainly takes us there.
O’DONNELL: And the reality is the Republican Senate would never vote for impeachment?
FLAKE: It’s tough to see how it would, certainly.
GAYLE KING: Of all of the Democrats who have announced that they are running and some who haven't announced yet, who do you think Republicans are most concerned about?
KING: And when you were here the last time, I missed you last time, but you made it clear you were not thinking about running against Donald Trump. Is there anybody in your party who you've heard is secretly considering it that you would like to share with us today?
KING: That was sort of your wife's reaction, too.
FLAKE: All of us think about it obviously. I really don't think there's going to be a serious challenge. John Kasich has talked about it and he would be a strong candidate, I believe. He has a strong record as governor, back in Congress as well. But he's not decided to do so. Larry Hogan has been talked about. He has a strong record.
KING: Do you think somebody should run against him, senator?
FLAKE: Yes, I do. I've said that consistently. I hope that somebody does, if only a reminder to Republicans what it means to be conservative and what it means to be decent. So, I hope that somebody runs. It won’t be me.