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Trump’s refusal to concede ‘just awful for the country,’ former Sen. Jeff Flake says

President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the election “does not speak well” for the president, former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake says, but it’s also a problem for the Republican Party. Judy Woodruff talks with Flake about why the president’s resistance is “just awful for the country,” and why he thinks it poses a danger to democracy.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And we continue our look at the president's actions and state of the Republican Party with former Arizona GOP Senator Jeff Flake.

    Senator Flake, thank you so much for being with us.

    So, we have the president still refusing to concede, insisting that he won, in constant motion to try to overturn the results today, meeting with state officials from Michigan.

    What do you make of all this?

  • Jeff Flake:

    Well, frankly, it's just awful. It's awful for the country. And for Republicans, it's terrible as well. So I don't understand it.

    I'm grateful that some Republicans are finally starting to speak up. I wish more of them would. This is unprecedented. And it just does not speak well, obviously, for the president or for the party.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We heard there are some who are saying this is literally dangerous for our democracy. Do you share that view?

  • Jeff Flake:

    I'm sorry. We're cutting up here.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    I think we're having a connection — having a connection issue.

    Let me try one more time, speaking with former Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona.

    Senator, do you believe this is dangerous for our democracy, what the president is trying to do?

  • Jeff Flake:

    Sorry. Still — I'm sorry. I didn't hear the question. We cut out for a second.

    Go ahead.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Let me — let me just try — apologies. Let me try one more time. It's that technology.

    Is this dangerous for democracy?

  • Jeff Flake:

    It is. It is, when you have the rest of the world looking at us and watching this closely, frankly, and when we try to be an example for the rest of the world.

    If other countries were doing what the president is doing, if other leaders were doing what the president is doing, we would be very critical. We have been in the past. And so this doesn't — doesn't speak well for us. It's a very difficult time.

    I hope we can get past it quickly. And I'm confident we will by the time the inauguration rolls around.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The president, Senator Flake, insisting that what his lawyer Rudy Giuliani is saying is true.

    We heard Giuliani yesterday making false claims about conspiracy theories about Venezuela, about the Clintons, and on and on.

    Is any of that — does any of it have any connection to anything that's real?

  • Jeff Flake:

    I'm sorry, I probably only heard part of the question there.

    But, yes, these claims are demonstrably false. They're so far out that I don't know how anybody, frankly, can believe them.

    But the president knows that some Republicans will. And it's similar to the birtherism theory. I don't think the president ever believed that Barack Obama was not a citizen, but he knew that a lot of Republicans would, and he used it. And he's doing the same thing now.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Senator Jeff Flake, we would love to talk to you a little bit more, but I think we are having technical problems.

    Thank you so much for talking with us.

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