"I love the Great State of Arizona", tweeted Trump the morning after he traveled to Phoenix for a rally. Before the rally, Politico reports, Trump huddled with potential replacement candidates and talked shit.
Robert Graham, a former chair of Arizona's Republican Party, told NPR's Scott Simon last month that Trump has promised to give $10 million to unseat Flake in his primary.
But Flake isn't the only Republican talking about a competitive Republican primary in 2020. But the GOP primary is a year away and a serious challenger to an incumbent senator would have to start now to make it competitive. And should the president look to primary other Republicans who have displeased him?
On August 22, 2017, Donald Trump completely stopped trying.
"I think we need to drain the swamp".
Advice like Stone's feeds the president's instincts to hit back hard against those whom he believes have wronged him: a list that at present appears to include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as well as GOP Sens.
Trump's biggest defeat to date, on his attempt to gut the Affordable Care Act, came at the hands of McCain and Sens. He should say them only behind closed doors, and only to people he knows he can trust, assuming there are still such people around him.
Flake insisted that he was running "my own campaign" and that as for Trump, "what the president's does, that's his prerogative".
Trump defenders say the president rips the press because they deserve it; critics say his constant barrage exposes the president as "unhinged" and self-destructive.
With Trump's bumpy tenure in office and sinking approval ratings, it's hard to predict how influential Trump will be with voters a year from now and Cox argues Flake's criticism of the president could wind up working in his favor.