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Jeff Flake says primarying Trump would be tough — but it needs to happen

Sen. Jeff Flake on NBC

Retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) conceded on Meet the Press Sunday it would be difficult to mount a primary challenge to President Trump in 2020, but he argued it must be done.

Trump is "running for re-election already," said host Chuck Todd. "He announced that last night basically. Do you think he needs to be challenged from somebody who espouses your views?"

"Yes, I do. I do," Flake replied. "I mean, it would be a tough go in a Republican primary. The Republican Party is the Trump party right now. But that's not to say it will stay that way."

Flake also addressed Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs, including the possibility of exemptions for close allies. "The problem is, when you say, 'Alright, let's have tariffs. But let's couple that with uncertainty,' that's almost worse," the senator said. "I mean, those are dual poisons to the economy. You know, tariffs are awful. Tariffs married to uncertainty is probably even worse."

Watch an excerpt of Flake's comments below, or read the full transcript of his interview at NBC. Bonnie Kristian