Jeff Flake on 2020: Joe Biden "strikes fear in a lot of Republicans"

Flake: Joe Biden "strikes fear" among GOP

Joe Biden has not definitively said he will be running for president in 2020 but many expect him to announce soon. Former Arizona Republican senator and CBS News contributor Jeff Flake said on Tuesday that the idea of Biden running in 2020 "strikes fear in a lot of Republicans."

"He can speak to those states that President Trump won, the Rust Belt in particular, and he's seen as more of a centrist. He was a senator for 30 some years. He knows how to work with the Senate, with the Congress, and I think that's certainly one that worries Republicans," he said.

Flake has already said that he will not challenge President Trump in 2020 but has also been vocal that he hopes someone in his party will challenge him.

"I really don't think there's going to be a serious challenge. John Kasich has talked about it and he would be a strong candidate, I believe. He has a strong record as governor, back in Congress as well. But he's not decided to do so. Larry Hogan has been talked about. He has a strong record," Flake said. "I hope that somebody does if only a remind to Republicans what it means to be conservative and what it means to be decent. I do hope somebody runs."

The U.S. announced late Monday that it's pulling the remaining staff from its embassy in Venezuela, citing the deteriorating situation in the South American nation that's also been experiencing widespread blackouts since last week. Flake said he doesn't think it's likely that the U.S. will send American troops there.

"I think that brings up a specter that we don't want to bring back. It awakens ghosts that people don't want to awaken in terms of our involvement in Central and South America. I am pleased that the U.S. under the Trump administration has strongly said that the Maduro era has to go. It has to be a new dawn for Venezuela. So, I hope that can happen, obviously, without any military intervention. I don't think that that's in the offing."

Flake also addressed Nancy Pelosi's comments on Monday that she is opposed to impeaching President Trump. The House speaker said she believes it would be too divisive for the country.

Asked if Pelosi's remarks were meant to provide cover to Democrats in Trump districts, Flake said, "I think that was the purpose. She's been pretty consistent in saying that she doesn't want it. I think that was a wise move on her part. She made it very clear that this isn't where we ought to go unless the evidence certainly takes us there."