This story has been updated.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) is calling on the local Republican Party to withdraw its sponsorship of a campaign event scheduled for Saturday that will feature presidential candidate Donald Trump and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
In an interview with The Washington Post on Thursday, Flake said both Trump and Arpaio's inflammatory rhetoric about immigrants and about President Obama's place of birth are not indicative of the Republican Party's values. The event at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix is hosted by the Republican Party of Maricopa County, but Flake said he had called the party chairman to ask him not to sponsor the event.
"As an elected official and as a Republican, I’m not excited about this, to say the least," Flake said. "I don’t think that [Trump's] views are reflective of the party, particularly in Arizona, a border state."
Republican Party of Maricopa County Chairman Tyler Bowyer issued a statement in response to Flake's comments saying the party is "thrilled" to welcome Trump and accusing the senator of violating former president Ronald Reagan's commandment that "thou shall not speak ill of any other Republican."
"It is saddening that at a time when Republicans should be exposing the negligence and failed policies of Democrats -- from sanctuary cities to DACA and catch-and-release to Obama's refusal to secure the border -- some Republicans choose to instead gossip about which GOP presidential candidate was invited to meet with voters in their home county," the statement read.
Flake -- who, like Arizona's senior senator, John McCain (R), is a leading proponent of immigration reform -- said Trump's recent comments about Mexican Americans are "ill-informed" and "not accurate" and threaten to damage the Republican Party's image.
“It’s not just on the immigration side. Donald Trump is just about the last unapologetic birther in the country," Flake said, referring to Trump's false contention that Obama was not born in the United States. Flake added that Arpaio also is an "unapologetic birther."
In 2010, Arizona was considered ground zero for the immigration debate after then-Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed one of the strictest anti-undocumented immigrant laws in the country. Flake said he fears Trump may stoke raw feelings about immigration held by Arizona's more conservative activists.
“I had hoped that we had moved on from some of the coarse rhetoric and these statements," Flake said. However, he said the Trump event "is just a bad reminder of the statements of the past that the state has largely moved on from."
Flake said he would be out of the state on a family vacation this weekend and would not attend the Trump event.
“There will likely be a crowd," Flake said. "But I think that his views aren’t shared by as many as he would like to think.”