Fox News host Martha MacCallum cornered former Sen. Jeff Flake over his endorsement of Democratic candidate Joe Biden while claiming to be a lifelong Republican.
MacCallum grilled the former Arizona lawmaker about his decision on “The Story” Monday and challenged him to name just one “actual policy” of the Democratic nominee who has promised to be “the most progressive president in history.”
(Source: Fox News)
On the first day of the Republican National Convention, Flake joined more than two-dozen former Republican members of Congress in an effort called “Republicans for Biden,” launched by the former vice president’s campaign.
Flake, who was widely condemned by Republicans as a traitor for backing the impeachment effort against the president, attempted to effectively explain his open endorsement of Biden to MacCallum on Monday.
“He has said that ‘if I’m elected, I will be the most progressive president in history.’ So, how do you as a lifetime Republican, support someone who has that goal?” the Fox News host asked Flake.
“I think, if you look at Joe Biden’s record, he’s not been that,” he responded. “This is a primary too, that he has just been through. He also said he would work with Republicans … that’s not a popular thing to say in the Democratic primary, but he did.”
“He’s a creature of the Senate,” he added. “He knows how to compromise. He knows how to work across the aisle and I’m confident he will do that in the future.”
“The Wall Street Journal showed polls today that more people wanted someone who was willing to buck the establishment than someone who wanted to sort of make peace and find common ground. Does that surprise you?” MacCallum asked.
“Well, I think at the primary season, it’s easy to say that you want somebody who is going to buck the establishment. But as you get closer to the election and realize that if you want policy, legislation, laws that actually endure, they need to be bipartisan.
“I think you will see both parties tacking a bit to the center,” Flake contended. “Like I said, Joe Biden has been through this for a long time.”
“I’m just trying to figure out in terms of actual policy what it is that you really like in Joe Biden as a lifelong Republican,” MacCallum continued, noting the landmark First Step Act that Trump signed and Flake supported when he was in Congress.
“The president was actually able to sign that into law,” MacCallum said. “We had eight years of the Obama-Biden administration and they did not take action on that. So why support Joe Biden over President Trump?”
“I voted for that while I was in the Senate,” Flake replied.
“Joe Biden has been supportive of criminal justice reform …,” he began as MacCallum interjected to offer a history lesson.
“But he was in for eight years with President Obama and that never happened, is my point,” she said.
“We passed the bipartisan immigration bill that appropriated $40 billion for border security. That was when President Obama and Joe Biden were in the White House. We did that in the Senate…I’ve been supportive of many of the things that the president has pushed,” Flake said.
“But you just don’t like his character,” MacCallum wondered.
“It’s not just that,” Flake claimed. “Republicans have traditionally been for free trade. The president is very much a protectionist. The Republicans have stood for strong American leadership … He canceled the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, if anything, would have helped keep China in check by allowing countries, particularly in southeast Asia, to go somewhere else for their trade.”
But MacCallum was not satisfied with Flake skirting the question, asking him directly if he is in favor of school choice. When the former senator affirmed that he was, she noted that Biden is not and said she was still “trying to figure out why” Flake was backing him.
“He will stand up and have reverence for our institutions of government.” Flake said, prompting a perturbed look from MacCallum.
“There’s something to be said for that,” Flake added. “I think he will preserve the public space where we can go back to disagreeing about policy and not just this rank tribalism that we see today.”