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Sen. Jeff Flake appears on Face the Nation
CBS NEWS' "FACE THE NATION" INTERVIEW WITH SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R-AZ)
 
FLAKE CALLS ON COLLEAGUES TO WITHHOLD ENDORSEMENT OF TRUMP: 
"So I hope that a number of us at least will withhold endorsement, I've not endorsed, until we see. It's not a comfortable position to not support your nominee of the party. 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."

FLAKE ON TRUMP, JUDGES, & WOMEN:
"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. So it goes beyond political correctness. Some of these things are simply bad statements. And some of the statements with regard to women are simply boorish. So it goes beyond political correctness."

FLAKE SAYS NOT HAVING A UNIFIED GOP WILL HAVE CONSEQUENCES:
"This is a real choice. This is a big deal. We obviously want to support the nominee. And there will be a problem if we don't. If we don't have a unified party going into this election, it will have consequences. But there will also be consequences if we support a nominee who continues to take positions that simply are inconsistent with the party's position over time."

 
***FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW***

JOHN DICKERSON: We turn now to Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who joins us from Phoenix. Senator, you said that you might be open to endorsing Donald Trump if he changes. What kind of a change would he need to make?
 
JEFF FLAKE: Well, a couple of his statements. For example, the ban on Muslims. He's walked that back somewhat. But then you don't know. Some of the statements suggest that he may not have walked it back. That's certainly going to have to change. And also, he's going to have to give a further explanation about the judge comment.
 
That, you know, you have to worry about the kind of judges that he will put on the bench. Not just the Supreme Court but on the federal bench. And if he has a problem with judges of Mexican heritage, worrying that they'll rule against things that he's doing, then you can't have that. And so he's going to have to make a clear statement there as well.
 
JOHN DICKERSON: He tried this week to clarify his statements on the judge. What did you think of those? Of that response?
 
JEFF FLAKE: Well, to say that his statement was just mischaracterized is wrong. That statement should be retracted. And he ought to apologize for it. So you can't just go on saying, "People are misunderstanding 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.
 
JOHN DICKERSON: It was interesting, your comments about the judges. He's put out a list of Supreme Court nominees he might pick from. One of the arguments he's made is if he's elected, he'll be the one picking perhaps the next justice. And so that alone makes him a better candidate than Hillary Clinton.
 
JEFF FLAKE: Well, he did put together a good list. I think those of us who were conservative were pleased to see that list. We have to remember though he appoints not just Supreme Court justices but judges to the entire federal bench. And that's a lot of judges. And to have somebody who has a problem with judges maybe of Mexican descent, then that creates a bigger problem than just the Supreme Court.
 
JOHN DICKERSON: When - you've mentioned some of the things Donald Trump would have to do to turn the corner. What gives you some sense given his past practices that he would stick with the new approach if in fact he did what you were hoping he would do?
 
JEFF FLAKE: I'm not confident at all. I hope that he does. But there's a worry that he'll simply go back to the outlandish statements that he feels are to his political advantage. So we have a lot of time between now and November. We haven't even got to the convention.
 
So I hope that a number of us at least will withhold endorsement, I've not endorsed, until we see. It's not a comfortable position to not support your nominee of the party. 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.
 
JOHN DICKERSON: One of the things that he says to his critics on the specific issue of the judge and other things is that people are just being too politically correct. When I talked to him, he said that they need a little common sense about these kinds of issues. What's your response to that?
 
JEFF FLAKE: 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. So it goes beyond political correctness. Some of these things are simply bad statements. And some of the statements with regard to women are simply boorish. So it goes beyond political correctness.
 
JOHN DICKERSON: What about the idea that there's a set of policies of here that Donald Trump if he's elected would help get through, and that he would as a Republican president sign those policies, and that if you just focus on the policies and not some of these comments, that that would be a reason to get behind him? Because Hillary Clinton is the alternative.
 
JEFF FLAKE: I'm certainly sympathetic to that. And Paul Ryan has said that the House package that he's putting together, which is a good package of reforms, is more likely to be enacted under a President Trump. That's why we hope that he can be a different kind of candidate than he's been so far. Because none of us want the alternative. We don't want another four years of what we've just had. And that's likely what we'll get with President Clinton.
 
JOHN DICKERSON: What's it like, senator, taking this position? Politics is pretty hot right now. Are you getting grief from constituents? Are you getting praise? What's it like on your end?
 
JEFF FLAKE: It's a mixture of both obviously. Arizona went for Trump in the Republican presidential preference primary. So I do hear from a lot of people who would like me to simply get behind the nominee. But given the things that he's said, I simply can't right now. And I've got a lot of support for that position as well.
 
JOHN DICKERSON: Give us a sense of what's happening in the Republican Party right now. Is this just a little internal difficulty? Or is the Republican Party facing a real choice here in your view?
 
JEFF FLAKE: This is a real choice. This is a big deal. We obviously want to support the nominee. And there will be a problem if we don't. If we don't have a unified party going into this election, it will have consequences. But there will also be consequences if we support a nominee who continues to take positions that simply are inconsistent with the party's position over time.
 
We cannot support somebody who would take us back on some of these issues. We can't support a candidate, for example, who will do to the Hispanic what has been done to the African American vote for Republicans going forward. We can't afford to do that as a party. And unless Mr. Trump changes some of his positions, we fear that that's where we'll be.
 
JOHN DICKERSON: All right, Senator Jeff Flake for us from Arizona. Thanks so much, senator. And we'll be back in a moment.

***END OF TRANSCRIPT***
 
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