GOP senator slams "simply boorish" Trump comments


Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, talks with CBS' "Face the Nation" in an interview airing June 12, 2016.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake said Sunday he hopes he's eventually able to support Donald Trump, but that some of the presumptive GOP nominee's statements are "simply boorish."

"There's something called political correctness and there's something called correctness--and to say that a judge can't judge correctly simply because he has Mexican heritage is not correct," Flake said on CBS' "Face the Nation," also naming Trump's proposed Muslim ban as a deal-breaker for him. "Some of these things are simply bad statements, and some of the statements with regard to women are simply boorish."

Flake said he and some others in the party want to be able to support their nominee in theory, but will hold off on endorsing Trump until they see he can change his ways and stop with the inflammatory comments.

"I hope that a number of us at least will withhold endorsement ... until we see," he said. "It's not a comfortable position to not support your nominee of the party, and none of us want to be in this position--but there are certain things that you can't do as a candidate and some of the things he's done I think are beyond the pale."

Referring to Trump's comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is involved in the Trump University case, Flake said Trump's attempts to clarify things didn't help. And while he did put together a "good list" of Supreme Court nominees, Flake said, his comments about Curiel require a change of position.

"To say that his statement was just mischaracterized was wrong," he said. "That statement should be retracted and you have to apologize for it. You can't just go on saying people are understanding me, you've got to admit that you're saying things that simply need to be walked back and you need to take a different position."

Even if Trump does moderate his tone, the Arizona senator said he's not exactly optimistic that Trump will be able to sustain it.

"Well, I'm not confident at all," he said, asked about the possible shift. "I hope that he does, but there's a worry that he'll simply go back to the outlandish statements if he feels it's to his political advantage."

The fear with Trump, Flake said, is that he will further weaken Republicans' support among Hispanic voters to the point that they're no longer a viable option for that demographic.

"We can't support a candidate for example who will do to the Hispanic vote what has been done to the African American vote for Republicans going forward," he said. "We can't afford to do that as a party. And unless Mr. Trump changes some of his positions, we fear that's where we'll be."

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    Emily Schultheis

    Emily Schultheis is a reporter/editor for CBS News Digital.