Guess which former senator is speaking with CBS News about a job at the network?
It’s Jeff Flake, former senator from Arizona, according to The Hollywood Reporter (THR). THR reports that Flake visited CBS’ Manhattan office, adding, “Flake could serve in the standard role for ex-politicians as an on-air contributor — or as something more, according to knowledgeable sources.”
Interestingly, earlier in the week President Trump speculated that Flake might now seek a television job, saying he would “probably go to work for CNN. That’s my prediction.”
In June, The Daily Beast reported, “Over the past several days, the Arizona Republican—who is not seeking re-election amid his public fights with President Donald Trump—has met with the heads of at least two major cable-news networks. On Monday, he met with MSNBC president Phil Griffin; and on Tuesday, he met with rival network CNN’s chief Jeff Zucker.”
When The Daily Beast queried as to whether he was seeking a job in cable news, Flake laughed, “That’s down the road—that’s six months.”
In October 2017, announcing his impending retirement from the Senate, Flake gave a speech in which he took a veiled shot at President Trump, saying:
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. Such behavior does not project strength — because our strength comes from our values. It instead projects a corruption of the spirit, and weakness.
In January 2018, appearing on MSNBC’s “KasieDC,” Flake would not rule out challenging President Trump in 2020. Kasie Hunt asked Flake, “You say you should oppose him when you think he’s wrong. Do you think there’s a moral obligation or duty for someone else in your party to challenge him for the nomination in 2020?” Flake responded, “I don’t want to put it that way, but I think he will have a challenge.”
Hunt interrupted, “Is it going to come from you?”
Flake answered, He’ll certainly have a challenge from somebody as an independent. But I think he’ll likely have a challenge in the Republican Party as well. … I am not the only one — the only Republican who is saying, “You know, I’m not sure this is my party. We used to stand for limited government and free trade, free enterprise and not this kind of nationalist, protectionist kind of party.”
Later in the interview, Hunt persisted, “Would you completely rule out challenging the president for the nomination in 2020?”
Flake, pinned down, responded, “No, I won’t rule it out. It’s not in my plans. But I’m not ruling it out. I don’t think anybody should.”
Two months later, Flake reiterated that view more strongly, telling a “Politics and Eggs” group:
I, as you know, am retiring from the Senate at the end of this year. It has not been my plan to run for president, but I have not ruled it out. I hope that someone does run in the Republican primary – somebody to challenge the president. I think that the Republicans want to be reminded what it means to be a traditional, decent Republican, and what the Party stands for – limited government, economic freedom, free trade, embracing immigration. These are things that have made the Party what it is over the years, and I think that people are wanting to hear that reminder. So I don’t know who it will be – I think the odds that I will are long, but I’ve not ruled it out.