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Newsmax' John Gizzi pressed White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on whether President Trump will support conservative primary challengers to centrist or liberal Republicans.

Trump has routinely denounced moderates and left-leaning Republicans, calling Arizona's Sen. Jeff Flake "Flake Jeff Flake" and nudging Nevada's Dean Heller during a White House meeting, asking whether the first-term senator wants to "remain a senator."

Gizzi pointed to Flake and Heller, asking Sanders about their "spirited primary challenges." Flake faces tea party conservative Dr. Kelli Ward - who unsuccessfully primaried Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) last year - in 2018.

He also asked about the most recent incident involving a pro-Trump candidate challenging a longtime establishment Republican legislator.

"Justin Simmons, a strong supporter of the president in Pennsylvania, declared his candidacy against Charlie Dent, who [then] announced his retirement on Friday," Gizzi said.

Simmons, a state representative from Coopersburg, blasted the six-term Dent (R-Pa.) as a formerly mainstream Republican who "went off the rails" to obstruct Trump's agenda and "side with Nancy Pelosi."

After Dent's announcement, State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lower Macungie) - who also endorsed Trump - joined the race, ensuring that the primary remains competitive, the Allentown Morning Call reported.

"Will the president back challenges to sitting Republicans?" Gizzi asked.

Sanders said that due to restrictions under the Hatch Act, she cannot comment on ongoing elections but that Trump himself may be able to.

Gizzi also mentioned the case of Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.), whom Trump endorsed for his upcoming special election.

Several conservatives questioned Trump's decision, citing that now-defeated candidate Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) and current runoff opponent Judge Roy Moore allegedly have stronger conservative credentials.


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