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Sarah Sanders defends Trump after GOP senators lambaste him

Republican family feud

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended President Trump's clashes with Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, and Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, who have both decided not to seek reelection in 2018.

"He wants people to be in the Senate that are committed to actually moving the ball down the field, and I don't think these two individuals necessarily have been as focused on that," Sanders said of both Flake and Corker during the White House press briefing Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday afternoon, Flake unexpectedly announced from the Senate floor that he will not run for re-election at the end of his term and specifically criticized Mr. Trump, calling him "dangerous to our democracy."

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake will not seek re-election

"Mr. President, I rise today to say, enough," Flake said.

Sanders said that Flake's "language wasn't befitting of the Senate floor" and remarked that neither Flake nor Corker would have been popular enough with their own constituents to successfully win re-election in their respective states.

"I think that we support the American people on this one, I think that the people both in Tennessee and Arizona supported this president, and I don't think that the numbers are in the favor of  either of those two senators in their states, and so I think that this was probably the right decision," she said.  

Earlier Tuesday morning, Corker also called out the president, saying that "he's proven himself unable to rise to the occasion" and that he would not support the president again, although he did during Mr. Trump's candidacy.

Mr. Trump responded to Corker's comments in a series of tweets:

Sanders defended Mr. Trump's comments as "voicing the frustration" of the people from Tennessee with their senator.

"You've got an individual in the president. He's a fighter. We've said it many times before -- the people of this country didn't elect somebody to be weak. They elected somebody to be strong, and when he gets hit, he's going to hit back," Sanders said in defense of Mr. Trump.

When asked if the president's tumultuous relationship with congressional Republicans might impede the White House's legislative agenda, Sanders stood by Mr. Trump and his comments.

"The president is fighting for an agenda and he has, as I've said, if he gets hit he's going to hit back," she said. "And people didn't elect him to be weak -- they elected him to be strong. And if he feels it's necessary to respond, he's going to do that."

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