A US Republican senator has warned that President Donald Trump may face competition to be the political party’s nominee for the 2020 presidential election if he decides to pursue a second term.
“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,” Senator Jeff Flake, one of the few Republican lawmakers to publicly condemn Trump, said Sunday in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
“If he’s the Republican nominee again, we’re likely to see an independent candidate” in the November 2020 presidential election, said Flake, who announced in October that he was retiring in late 2018.
“He’s probably inviting a Republican challenge as well” for the 2020 primaries to tap a nominee for the Republican Party, he warned.
Incumbent presidents are typically considered the presumptive nominee for their party at the end of the first term, although an intra-party challenge is not unprecedented.
Former President Jimmy Carter ran against late Senator Ted Kennedy in the 1980 Democratic presidential primaries.
Flake is among the few Republicans in Congress who have publicly denounced Trump, both on a personal level and for his policies which the senator deems extreme.
“You look at the audiences cheering for Republicans… you look out there and say, those are the spasms of a dying party,” he said in the interview.
“By and large, we’re appealing to older white men. And there are just a limited number of them. And anger and resentment are not a governing philosophy.”
Congressman Charlie Dent, a leading Republican in the House of Representatives who is also retiring next year, on Sunday criticized the party’s blind loyalty to Trump.
Dent’s advice to colleagues was, “Be prepared for the worst because this could be a really tough year.”
Republican Party lawmakers and political advisers to Trump fear a backlash at next year’s mid-term congressional elections if the Republican president fails to keep his campaign promises and improve his standing among working-class voters.
Trump’s advisers have been directly warning him of a possible bloodbath in the 2018 midterms, which could obliterate the Republican congressional majorities and paralyze the president’s legislative agenda, Politico reported.