GOP Rep. to Trump: McCain, Flake are 'your team'
Posted August 23
In the wake of President Trump's fiery speech in Arizona Tuesday night, Rep. Tom Cole is offering him some advice.
"Don't make it personal. Remember, these are members of your team and you have a lot to get done this fall," the congressman told CNN Wednesday. "You are going to need every vote you've got in the United States Senate."
Cole, a Republican from Oklahoma's 4th congressional district, was reacting to Trump's criticism of two fellow Republicans, Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake.
In his speech Tuesday night Trump said he "will not mention any names," but complained repeatedly that Republicans were "one vote" short on passing their health care bill. McCain was one of three GOP senators to vote against a Republican bill to overhaul parts of Obamacare.
Then, in attacking Flake, who has been critical of the President, Trump said: "Nobody wants me to talk about him. Nobody knows who the hell he is. And now, we haven't mentioned any names, so now, everybody's happy."
Trump on the rampage in Arizona
"I think it's a mistake to personalize things in politics. Who is your opponent today can be your friend tomorrow," Cole told CNN's John Berman the morning after Trump's speech.
"That's true on both sides of the aisle. We have Democrats that could vote with us on a number of things. If we make it impossible for them to do that, they're going to put their own political survival ahead of, frankly, maybe what is something they actually believe."
Cole also took issue with Trump's comment, "If we have to close down our government, we're building that wall" -- an apparent threat in reference to his proposed wall on the US-Mexico border.
"I think it's always a mistake to shut down the government. You make life worse for the American people," Cole added. "You put the country at risk. It shows political dysfunction, particularly when you control the presidency, Senate and House."
The congressman acknowledged that Trump's belligerent Arizona speech was vastly different in tone from his measured address to the nation Monday night on Afghanistan.
"We saw two different presidents in the last two nights. I thought the President did an exceptional job on Afghanistan and, frankly, was brutally honest with the American people," Cole said.
"I liked that and respected the President for being straightforward," he added. "I think we would be better served if that's the President we saw more often."