Senator Jeff Flake: Trump ‘will have a challenge from the Republican party’ in 2020

Senator Jeff Flake says President Trump will likely face competition for the Republican presidential nomination, reports The Hill.

During a recent interview, CNN’s David Axelrod asked the outgoing Arizona lawmaker about speculation that he may challenge Trump in some capacity in 2020, and he said, “That’s not something I’m planning.” 

But after admitting that he hasn’t ruled out the option, the retiring senator, who has been a vocal critic of Trump, added, “I do think the president will have a challenge from the Republican Party. I think there should be. I also think that there will be an independent challenge.” 

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Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) questions Supreme Court nominee judge Neil Gorsuch during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 21, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) talks to reporters as he arrives for a Senate health care vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) laughs with fellow subcommittee member Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) (L) at the Senate Foreign Relations' Western Hemisphere Subcommittee hearing on President Barack Obama's changes to Cuba policy in Washington February 3, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 19: (AFP OUT) Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) (L) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) (R) attend a lunch with members of Congress hosted by US President Donald J. Trump (not pictured) in the State Dining Room of the White House on July 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images)
MESA, AZ - APRIL 13: U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) speaks at a town hall event at the Mesa Convention Center on April 13, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona. It was the first such event this year for Flake, who is up for re-election in 2018, as Republican lawmakers across the country have been confronted with angry voters in similar settings. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 25: Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., right, and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., conduct a news conference in the Capitol to introduce an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban on May 25, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
MESA, AZ - APRIL 13: U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) speaks at a town hall event as critics show their displeasure at the Mesa Convention Center on April 13, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona. It was the first such event this year for Flake, who is up for re-election in 2018, as Republican lawmakers across the country have been confronted with angry voters in similar settings. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 9: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) speaks with reporters after a vote at the U.S. Capitol, May 9, 2016, in Washington, DC. Senate Democrats defeated a procedural vote on an energy bill, which increases funding for the Department of Energy and Army Corps of Engineers. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 25 - Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., checks out Adaeze, a one and a half year old Cheetah, from the Leo Zoo, in Greenwich, Ct., along with Marcella Leone, from the Leo Zoo, middle, and Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of Cheetah Conservation Fund, in Nambia, left, following a briefing on 'Combating Threats to the Cheetah, Africa's Most Endangered Big Cat, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Monday, April 25, 2016. The briefing, led by House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., and Sen. Flake, comes as the Senate prepares to consider legislation on the 'destructive practice of wildlife poaching and trafficking.' Joining Adaeze on the table is Odie, a Australian Shepherd. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) talks to reporters as he arrives for a Senate health care vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) departs after a briefing by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the ongoing fight against the Islamic State, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., August 2, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) announces he will not seek re-election as he speaks on the floor of the Senate in this still image taken from video on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Senate TV via
U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) faces reporters after announcing he will not run for reelection on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona, speaks during an interview on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. Flake announced he won't seek re-election and then delivered a blistering attack on�Donald Trump�on the Senate floor, the second GOP senator to publicly excoriate the president on the�day the party wanted to put a proposed tax overhaul at the forefront. Photographer: Olivier Douliery/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 07: Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., left, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., make their way to a Hurricane Harvey aid related vote in the Capitol on September 7, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 24: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and his wife Cheryl Flake leave the U.S. Capitol as they are trailed by reporters, October 24, 2017 in Washington, DC. Flake announced that he will not be seeking re-election and he will leave the Senate after his term ends in 14 months. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 24: Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., is seen in the Capitol on the day he announced he will not be running for re-election on October 24, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 18: Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., talk as Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Full committee hearing on 'Oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice' on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
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Flake’s comments echo those he made in December when he told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, “I do believe if the president is running for re-election, if he continues on the path that he’s on, that that’s going to leave a huge swath of voters looking for something else.”

When Karl asked about the possibility of an independent candidate entering the race in 2020 should Trump be the Republican nominee, Flake responded, “He’s inviting that. He’s probably inviting a Republican challenge as well.” 

A recent Fox News report lists Flake, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban as potential competitors for the GOP ticket. 

Meanwhile, Trump has already signaled his intention to run for re-election by naming members of his 2020 campaign team. 

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