The meeting at Vice President Mike Pence’s residence will include four GOP senators, according to a senior administration official. | Andrew Harnik/AP Photo
Vice President Mike Pence will host four Republican senators for dinner Wednesday night—including Arizona’s Jeff Flake, who has clashed fiercely and publicly with President Donald Trump.
The 7 p.m. meeting at Pence’s residence will also include Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.), according to a senior administration official.
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The meeting comes as the Senate is expected to vote on a major tax cut, the administration’s top legislative priority. Both Flake and Lankford have voiced concerns about the bill.
Flake and Lankford are among a group of Republican senators who have raised concerns about how much the tax cut could add to the national debt. The senate bill would add about $1.5 trillion in debt over a decade, according to an analysis from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation.
Trump is aware that Pence is hosting Flake, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Flake, who is not seeking re-election in 2018, has been a Trump antagonist since refusing to endorse him during the 2016 campaign. He’s been repeatedly attacked by Trump on Twitter since forcefully denouncing the president in a book and from the Senate floor.
“It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end,” Flake said in an Oct. 24 speech on the Senate floor. “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.”
Trump lashed out, deriding him as unelectable in his home state. Trump had previously labelled Flake “weak” and “toxic.”
Trump predicted earlier this month that Flake will oppose tax cuts “because his political career anyway is ‘toast.’”
“Senator Flake is still reviewing the tax reform bill on its merits. How he votes on it will have nothing to do with the president,” a Flake spokesperson said in response to that Nov. 19 tweet.
Flake’s office did not respond to a request for comment about the Wednesday dinner.