Acting Asst. Sec. Susan Thornton and EAP team en route to her nomination hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee!
President Donald Trump faced down a crowded field of GOP presidential hopefuls in 2016 as a political outsider, but he could see a packed stage of Republican challengers again in 2020—only as an incumbent this time.
Trump made few political friends during his ascent to the White House. He made headlines making fun of his competition, doling out nicknames—"low energy Jeb Bush," "Little Marco Rubio," "Lyin' Ted Cruz"—along the way. The president's diplomatic dexterity hasn't noticeably improved much since taking office. Senators Rubio and Cruz have improved their relationship with Trump since his inauguration, but other lawmakers from within his party have emerged as outspoken critics, fueling speculation he may face a stiff presidential primary race in 2020.
Flake has become one of the most vocal Republican critics of Trump over the past year. He delivered a scorching rebuke of Trump from the Senate floor in October when he announced he would not seek re-election in 2018.
"I rise today with no small measure of regret," he said. "Regret because of the state of our disunion. Regret because of the disrepair and destructiveness of our politics. Regret because of the indecency of our discourse. Regret because of the coarseness of our leadership.
"But we must never adjust to the present coarseness of our national dialogue with the tone set up at the top," Flake continued. "We must never regard as normal the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country. The personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms and institution, the flagrant disregard for truth and decency."
"I will not be complicit," Flake said near the end of his nearly 20-minute speech.
One might be forgiven for confusing this retirement speech with something else.
Flake also authored the book, Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return To Principal, that detailed his critique of Trump in 2017.
Like Flake, Corker also has announced he won't seek re-election. The decision has Tennessee voters speculating the junior senator may be eyeing the Oval Office, according to WTVC.
Corker also has been critical of the president, telling reporters, "The president not been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful," in August.
In September, after he announced his retirement, Corker was coy about his future plans.
"If there's an opportunity for me to make a difference in some other way I'm sure that I would look at it," he said.
Unlike most of the others on this list, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO has publicly stated she would consider another run at the White House after her failed bid in 2016.
In June, Fiorina told Fox Business Network she is thinking about another campaign.
"Well, we'll see. Look, it was a privilege to run for president," she said. "I do believe in a citizen government. I think we need more citizens to step up and run for public office and so I certainly would consider it but you know you have to have the right context, the right opportunity, so we'll see. I will remain politically engaged for sure."
Kasich, like Fiorina, also may want another shot at the job. He was one of the candidates Trump felled in the 2016 primary. Despite that, he has remained dedicated to his vision for the GOP.
"I have a right to define what it means to be a conservative and what it means to be a Republican," he told New York magazine in October. "I think my definition is a lot better than what the other people are doing.”
Voters didn't take to his philosophy in 2016; Kasich managed to win only his home state. But unlike other Republicans who have spoken out against Trump and seen their polling numbers subsequently drop, Kasich's constituency has remained supportive, the Washington Post noted.
Kasich also appears to have shifted his position on another presidential run. Asked on CNN's State of the Union in March whether he would look to primary Trump, he repeatedly answered "no." A month later Kasich shifted, saying it was "very unlikely" he would seek higher office again.
Then in May, just a couple weeks later, he told Bill Maher he doesn't know what his plans are.
"I don't know what I'm going to do," he said, talking about a 2020 run. "I'm going to keep a voice, but I can't predict to you—I never thought I would be governor, I never thought I'd go back into politics."
"So, what I look for is, ‘What is it I'm supposed to do? What is it I'm supposed to do in my lifetime to build a better world or build a better community or whatever?’" Kasich said. "And so I can't tell you what that's going to be, and I'm not plotting and scheming. I'm rooting for him to do well, Bill, for the same reason I root for a pilot on my airplane to do well. Okay? He's the president."
Sasse has, as The Hill points out, taken his fight to Trump's cyber doorstep. He subtweeted Trump in June after the president attacked MSNBC's Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, claiming to have seen her bleeding after undergoing cosmetic surgery.
Then in October, Sasse got a bit more direct with Trump after the president appeared to threaten revoking broadcast licenses for some media outlets.
"Mr. President: Are you recanting of the Oath you took on Jan. 20 to preserve, protect, and defend the 1st Amendment?" Sasse tweeted.
Sasse slipped into Trump's mentions during the 2016 campaign after the Access Hollywood tape was revealed.
"Character matters. @realDonaldTrump is obviously not going to win. But he can still make an honorable move: Step aside & let Mike Pence try," he tweeted.
Despite all the tweets, Sasse has been a consistent vote for items on the Trump agenda, voting with him nearly 90 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight.
As a Latino woman who has at times been critical of Trump, Martinez personifies some of the traits the GOP are looking for in its hopes of expanding the base.
She refused to endorse Trump during the 2016 campaign, despite Trump saying he "would love to have" her support and that he "respects" her.
Martinez made it clear Trump would not grab her endorsement after the Access Hollywood tape came out.
"What Trump brags about is appalling and completely unacceptable," she said. "No woman should ever be treated the way he claims he treated women. Unfortunately, there is a pattern of disturbing conduct and offensive rhetoric that raises serious questions about this fitness to be president. That's why I have withheld my support from the very beginning, and will not support him now."
Their relationship changed, though, after a meeting in February about health care, tax reform and other issues.
"What I feel most confident is this: His No. 1 priority is to keep America safe,” Martinez told local news outlets. “And the way he’s going to do that is improve our military in every way possible so that we are the strongest military in the world.”
The 2016 campaign was loaded with Cruz-Trump barbs. Cruz's polling in Texas took a hit after the election, and a Washington Post analysis posited the senator may have remained somewhat quiet about Trump because he's up for re-election in 2018.
Cruz and Trump's divisive relationship during the primaries has not publicly continued since the election. Cruz has voted in line with Trump 92.9 percent of the time, which may benefit him come next November.
Republican have not been safe from challengers within the party, as former White House strategist Steve Bannon has made clear in Virginia and Alabama. But Cruz appears to be in Bannon's good graces. The two had dinner with Trump at the White House in March, and Bannon said Cruz is the sole GOP lawmaker he won't back a primary challenger against in 2018.
Still, Cruz may still want another crack at 1600 Pennsylvania. "[N]o one in the political world doubts the intensity of Cruz’s ambitions," The Hill reported.
Romney's political aspirations have not withered after his failed presidential bid in 2012. He's reportedly considering a run for the Senate if Republican Senator Orrin Hatch retires and thought about challenging Trump in 2016 before stepping aside. Polling shows Romney would likely have an easy path to that office. From there, he "would immediately have a platform for speaking out against Trump," the Washington Post noted.
A battle of the billionaires? Cuban, who owns the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, has publicly said he is looking into running against Trump, telling Fox News in October that there's about a four out of 10 chance he tries.
"I think there's a place for somebody who's socially a centrist but I'm very fiscally conservative," he said.
"I think we're going into a time where you need somebody who can connect to people and relate to people at a base level and appreciate what they're going through—and I think I qualify on each of those."
Cuban also has been a critic of Trump's and campaigned for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
The gambling website 5Dimes updated its odds for the 2020 presidential winner in early December, giving Trump the best chance at 2-1. His closest competition was Pence at 10-1.
All loosers... RINO's and Never Trumper's
Trump is not going to make it, so we have to find someone else.
We should talk about the UN.
Did my task for the day, dropped the bomb at some Trump blogs....:)- Needles to say they were blasted.
Enjoyed the follow up comments.
The Trump administration is still a power house, but Trump has not followed through with what he stated he would do.
As I understand it the GOP/RNC Chairwoman has already stated that the Board for the RNC is not considering alternative candidates for President...
Since Primaries are run by the Political Parties any one in the GOP wanting to challenge Pres. Trump will have to do it in a separate primary, under another political parties banner.
Again, the RNC Chair has already stated that the GOP will not support a challenger to Pres. Trump... unless this changes any talk or effort to run a challenge to our sitting President is void... not going to happen.
Good morning Mr. Nelson,
Look man, I also like Trump, but hey, he just did not do his job. Just within our members, over 90% of them will not vote again for him.
10% stated they will not vote this 2020 election.
The one issue is the border, video after videos, they are not sending people back.
The other issues will be shared later. As Tif stated there is 9 issues where he, Trump did not tell the truth.
Hillary Clinton will never go to jail.
Not voting or voting for a lesser qualified and motivated candidate will only exasserbate an already troubled system of government. Threatening too support a third party or internal political conflipcts, plays into the hands of the existing cabal running out government...
Trump has done more than any other President in recent history to reform govenrment... He did this inspite of his own political party's resistance to his Presidentcy... Trump still has unfilled vacancies in his cabinet... the result of the US Senates SLOW WALKING his political appointees... the catalyst for change. We need to remove the NEVER TRUMP wing of the GOP in the coming PRIMARIES...
A President doesn't govern in a vacuum.... Congress and the NEVER TRUMP movement have been working to remove our President... not just to block his reforms... they want him gone. The MSM and the Federal Judiciary have been ripping the President and fighting his executive orders and administration of he govenment at every turn...
I will give you this... Trump needs to immidiately begin draining the swamp... he can do this by asking the DOJ and FBI to fast track indictments on the bad apples identified by the Russia collusion investigation and the many Clinton and Obama era PAY TO PLAY schemes... including, Urainium One deal, Solindra Solar (500 million embezelled), Fast and Furious (Eric Holder's guns for Drug Cartells), Benghazi Arms deals, (supplying Lybian weapons illegally to Islamic terror groups in Syria), The Clinton foundation and its money laundering of bribes, and HIllary's Email Server and Espionage problems (while Secretary of State)... Hundreds of indictable individuals can be charged over night... and need to be charged ASAP...
P/S it would also help to see the Wall going up... and all the illegal aliens being DEPORTED not caught and released. Catch and release is still happening ... stop it and show it being stopped... inform the public that their borders are secure... use the military to do it and necessary declare martial law on the border.
Draining the swamp, watch, I will bet you 20 this will never happen, and there is no policies here at this site that we can not vote for who we wish. Expose the truth, there is not such rule, the EU laws have not taken over America yet.
Vote for whom ever you wish but realize that ... if they are not on the printed ballot it must be a write in vote... Write in votes are often challenged for spelling, legibility, etcs... hardly a reliable method of voting.
Do you know how many write in candidates have won an elecction to a Federal Seat in government... How about one... Sen. Strom Thurmond... is the only individual to win a seat in Congress as a write in candidate, and it was in a special election... not a general election
Like Obama said, Yes We Can, The System Is Rigged, Like Da!!!!!!!!!!!