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Arizona Sen. Flake: Donald Trump Comments On Orlando Shooting 'Disgusting'

Sen. Jeff Flake
J. Scott Applewhite/AP via NPR
Sen. Jeff Flake

Arizona Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, a frequent critic of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, has joined other prominent members of his party in a strong rebuke of comments made by Trump following the Orlando shooting.

Before the events in Orlando, Flake said last week he could not support Trump’s candidacy, calling his comments on an Mexican-American judge “textbook racism” and “boorish” while urging other members of the GOP to withhold their endorsements.  

After Sunday’s attack and Trump’s self-congratulatory tweetand implication that President Barack Obama had something to do with the shooting, the state’s junior senator had new ways to describe him.   

“It was unfortunate,“ Flake said.

On blaming Obama for the massacre, Flake was particularly annoyed with Trump.

“That’s beyond the pale. I mean really, just particularly, particularly disgusting to imply that that the president was hiding something,” Flake said.

Flake added that he’s glad he’s not up for reelection until 2018, fearing Trump’s down-ballot damage could doom the party in November.

He’s also hinted that Trump’s comments could trigger a Republican insurrection at the Republican convention next month.

The state’s senior Republican senator, Sen. John McCain — who has been criticized by Trump for being captured and not being a war hero despite spending more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam — continues to say he’ll stand by the party’s nominee.

In comments made on Wednesday, McCain agreed with Trump that Obama was to blame for the attack in Florida.

“The cause of terror is the failures of the Obama administration to address this issue seriously,” McCain said.   

McCain, who is facing a tough reelection fight in November, reasons that cuts to the military and intelligence budgets have undermined their efforts to prevent terrorist attacks.

“This is what the president called the JV (junior varsity) that just caused the deaths of 49 people in Orlando,” he said.

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Phil Latzman is an award-winning digital journalist and broadcast professional with over 25 years of experience covering news and sports on a multitude of platforms.