Republican senators who have been a thorn in President Trump's side are beginning to see the political consequences of opposing the White House as pro-Trump activists start to mobilize.
Just this week, it was revealed that conservative billionaire and Trump benefactor Robert Mercer would be contributing $300,000 to a super PAC supporting a primary challenger to Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake. The Republican lawmaker has sparred with Trump on immigration and is promoting a book that argues the GOP is in “denial” about the president.
Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller – who gave only tepid support to Trump’s presidential bid and the subsequent push to repeal and replace ObamaCare – also learned this week he would face a primary challenge from a Trump backer who has run unsuccessfully for Senate before.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, too, is feeling the heat from Trump and his base as the president vents about the Kentucky Republican’s inability to get health care legislation passed.
Flake, though, has been the most overt about his displeasure with the president -- making the TV rounds to discuss his book ahead of his re-election race next year.
"If this was our Faustian bargain, then it was not worth it," Flake writes in "Conscience of a Conservative." "If ultimately our principles were so malleable as to no longer be principles, then what was the point of political victories in the first place?"
The White House has not shied from hitting back.
“I think Senator Flake would serve his constituents much better if he was less focused on writing a book and attacking the president than passing legislation,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said last week when asked if the president would back a challenger.
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