Former Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) claimed on Thursday, without evidence, that “at least 35” Republicans in the Senate would vote to remove President Donald Trump from office “if there were a private vote,” Fox News reports.
Flake made the unsubstantiated claim during a Q&A session at the 2019 Texas Tribune Festival, where he remarked that he “heard someone say if there was a private vote there would be 30 Republican votes. That’s not true. There would be at least 35.”
The “someone” to whom Flake was referring was most likely Mike Murphy, a left-wing MSNBC commentator who recently claimed that “one Republican senator told me if it was a secret vote, 30 Republican senators would vote to impeach Trump.” Murphy similarly provided no evidence for his claim, and did not name which senator allegedly old him this.
The claims by Flake and Murphy come as an impeachment inquiry officially moves forward in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. Republicans in the Senate, contrary to Flake and Murphy’s claims, have voiced their unwavering opposition to any impeachment measures. If impeachment did pass the House and go to trial in the Senate, the Democrats would need to flip at least 20 Republicans to their side in order to remove President Trump from office.
As a senator, Flake was a frequent critic of President Trump, to the point that Trump even voiced support for Flake’s primary challenger Kelli Ward. With his approval ratings in Arizona plummeting as a result, Flake retired from the Senate instead of seeking re-election.