White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders excoriated Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) during a press press briefing on Wednesday, saying the retiring senator was making a bid for attention with recent remarks he made on the Senate floor.
On Wednesday morning, Sen. Flake made scathing remarks about the president during a speech he had pre-planned. In it, he heavily criticized the White House and made comparisons between former Soviet Union dictator Josef Stalin and President Donald J. Trump.
Sanders fired back at Flake with derision regarding his recent trip to communist Cuba, saying: “I found it quite interesting that he is coming out to attack this president, considering he is the one who was recently defending an actually oppressive regime. He went to Cuba a few weeks ago and served as a mouthpiece for the oppressive Cuban government. He is not criticizing the president because he is against oppression, he is criticizing the president because he has terrible poll numbers and he is, I think, looking for some attention.”
Sanders reference was to Flake’s trip to Cuba, which occurred earlier this year. After a group of American diplomats in Cuba fell ill due to an unknown attack, Flake traveled to the communist nation. Supportive of easing travel restrictions on Cuba, Flake said he believes the Cuban government’s assertion that the diplomats were not intentionally harmed, as the U.S. has found no evidence that they were, despite the administration’s concern over the matter.
Sanders remarks may be heard in the video clip below:
.@PressSec: “I found it quite interesting that [@JeffFlake] is coming out to attack @POTUS considering he’s the one that was recently defending an actually oppressive regime. He went to Cuba a few weeks ago and served as a mouthpiece for the oppressive Cuban government.” pic.twitter.com/vbtzpV3fB6
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 17, 2018
Flake has been a frequent detractor of the president, criticizing him for his handling of immigration, health care and the media. Flake recently announced that he will not be seeking reelection to the Senate, using the announcement as another opportunity to attack the president by saying Trump had perverted the Republican Party. Flake faced a difficult path to reelection, The Hill reports, considering his frequent criticisms of the president in a majority Republican state.