CNN's Jake Tapper interviews Jeff Flake moments after his rousing Senate floor speech

Jeff Flake.
(Image credit: Screenshot/Twitter/CNN)

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) delivered an impassioned speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, in which he announced his decision not to seek re-election in 2018. Flake harshly criticized President Trump as well as his "complicit" colleagues in Congress. "It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end," Flake said.

Moments after his Senate speech — which garnered applause from his colleagues, beginning with Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) — Flake was interviewed by CNN's Jake Tapper, who pressed him on why he was relinquishing his Senate seat. "It's just a very narrow path for a Republican like me in today's Republican Party to get the nomination," Flake said. "I would have to run a campaign that I couldn't be proud of, frankly, to win re-election. And I chose not to do that."

Tapper told Flake that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had said Flake's retirement was "probably a good move," given the "lack of support" that he has in Arizona. When asked for his response to the White House line, Flake didn't take the bait:

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Flake will leave the Senate in January 2019. Former state senator Kelli Ward has emerged as a top candidate in the state's GOP primary, while Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) is a leading contender for the Democrats. Watch more of Tapper's interview with Flake here.

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