Opinion: Jeff Flake lays down some truth

In a blistering speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona attacked the leadership, character and decency of the president with whom he shares a political party.

“Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as ‘telling it like it is,’ when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified,” Flake told his colleagues. “We were not made great as a country by indulging or even exalting our worst impulses, turning against ourselves, glorying in the things which divide us, and calling fake things true and true things fake.”

“The notion that one should stay silent as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined and as the alliances and agreements that ensure the stability of the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters – the notion that one should say and do nothing in the face of such mercurial behavior is ahistoric and, I believe, profoundly misguided.”

“I have children and grandchildren to answer to, and so, Mr. President, I will not be complicit,” Flake said. He then announced that he would not be seeking re-election. As he told his hometown newspaper, ‘The path that I would have to travel to get the Republican nomination is a path I’m not willing to take, and that I can’t in good conscience take.”

And of course, Flake is not alone. His fellow Republican senator from Arizona, John McCain, has been equally critical of Trump, as has Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee. Last week, former President George W. Bush added his own voice, condemning a politics of “conspiracy theories and outright fabrication” that “provides permission for cruelty and bigotry.”

Think about what we’re witnessing, because it is historic: Among them, Bush, Romney and McCain represent every previous Republican presidential nominee dating back to 2000, and you can add to their number former President George H.W. Bush, who has made clear that he voted for Hillary Clinton over Trump. As a reward for their candor, these elder statesmen of the Grand Old Party are being attacked by current leaders of their party as sellouts and traitors, as being “Republican In Name Only.”

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has also been highly critical of Trump. Like Flake, he too has chosen not to seek re-election. However, most of those in current Republican leadership either do not share the profound misgivings voiced by their party’s senior statesmen, which indicts their judgment, or they have been cowed into acquiescence and dare not speak up, which speaks to their patriotism and courage at a time when both are needed.

In most cases, I suspect the latter.

Shortly after Bush’s speech last week, former White House advisor Steve Bannon spoke to the California Republican Party, where he pitched his ongoing “revolt against the Republican establishment” and his attempt to remake the party in Trump’s image. He also attacked, by name, both McCain and Bush.

“President Bush, to me, embarrassed himself,” Bannon said dismissively. “Speechwriter wrote a highfalutin speech. It’s clear he didn’t understand anything that he was talking about.”

Those remarks, delivered to an all-Republican crowd, were greeted with standing ovations. It was yet another startling indication of how dramatically the party is radicalizing itself, right before our very eyes.

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NOTE: This column contains some material previously published here. It is posted as the electronic version of a column being published in the AJC on Wednesday.

Reader Comments 0

1789 comments
JKToole
JKToole

"Republicans are so committed to their agenda that they will tolerate a potentially unstable and dangerous president in order to enact it. Or,Republicans may simply fear the wrath of Trump, figuring they are one errant tweet away from facing primary challengers who, with the help of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, will end their political careers."

In either case, they are borderline treasonous or abject cowards.

rimsky
rimsky

This is how a con thinks:

Another con buddy of mine was saying after the first rack the fermentation process has stopped (very unusual).  So I told him to add another packet of yeast.  Which he did and fermentation started back up.

My original con buddy said get this " I don't know anything about wine making but the fermentation stopped because of low temperature"  He said that knowing it started back up.

Typical con.

You see that here with all the cons here.

gotalife
gotalife

North Korea has a strong hacking army now.


The dems should hire them.


Fair game.

gotalife
gotalife

I want to see the pee tape with russian hos instead of gop hos.

KUTGF
KUTGF

Oh the irony of the RWers now claiming that some don't care about the dossier.  Somehow they want to ignore the truth contained in the dossier.

td1234
td1234

@KUTGF It has been debunked over and over again and then the FBI used it to spy on Trump. 

TBS
TBS

@KUTGF


Funny part is now the investigation isn't a nothing burger.

This is big.   I think HC, Obama and many others connected to them are indicted by the end of the year.  

Vindicator
Vindicator

@KUTGF Truth? Where have you been? No wonder you people are called lunatics and escapees from the asylum. Wow! You can't make this stuff up. And no wonder why you people lost the election.

Vindicator
Vindicator

@TBS @KUTGF What? The untouchables? Oh, handcuffs and orange would be heaven on earth.

KUTGF
KUTGF

@td1234 @KUTGF  Actually no.  A number of claims have been proven true.  Some claims have been denied but not proven true or untrue.

Again your ignorance does not excuse your foolishness.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@KUTGF  What truth does it contain?  The whole thing is tainted, to say the least.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@KUTGF @td1234  one of the claims proven true was that the Clintons engineered the sale of Uranium to the Russians, Muller to investigate

JKToole
JKToole

@TBS @KUTGF Bet your house. It's all created by the state media - Breitbart.

JKToole
JKToole

@Infraredguy This has been demonstrably proven false countless times.

It was brought up by Breitbart, with no new revelations, yet again.

td1234
td1234

@HDB0329 For firing Comey? LMAO, that one has been debunked by many Constitutional law scholars for months now. 


1: The POTUS has the Constitutional protection to be able to fire anyone in the executive branch.   


2: You cannot prosecute a sitting President. Impeach but not prosecute. 

straker
straker

As long as Trump gives the illusion of sticking it to those "moochers", all will be well here in con world.

gotalife
gotalife

dems need to stop telling the truth and stop trying to govern.

Forget the people and country.

Just focus on cheating for elections to compete with the gop.

rimsky
rimsky

have met Trump haters before, lots of them, the kind who seize upon every conspiracy theory and refuse to give him any benefit of any doubt. The four people I recently spent the morning with at Solly’s Tavern in D.C. (sans booze, don’t worry) were not Trump haters. They were, however, Trump quitters.

All of them, at some point over the course of the last nine months, had left their posts within the current administration, having decided that they could better serve their country from outside the government than from within. They weren’t happy about quitting, either.

http://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/trump-quitters/

When will the cons in this blog learn.  Probably never.  When they have to lie to prove their point they really deserve what comes to them.  Every bit of it.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

The real news is not Corker and Flake tearing into Trump. It's the fact nobody is disagreeing with them.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@Fan4500 @StraightNoChaser I see what you did, you overlooked what I am saying to deflect with more of your BS Fan.  Stay focused, no one has come to Trump's defense against what they are saying.

Fan4500
Fan4500

@StraightNoChaser @Fan4500 Drain the swamp. That includes anyone who is obstructing in D.C. I want all these worthless leeches gone.

We need a active Congress.

td1234
td1234

@Fan4500 Flake and Coker are leaving because they cannot win a primary challenge in their own states. 


The open borders/globalist/internationalist wing of the Republican party is no longer in power. 


Trump and Cruz received 80% of the Republican primary votes last year again 14 globalist. The people have spoken. 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 @Fan4500 Seriously td it has nothing to do with policy because if it did Both have a 96% conservative voting record.  Stop with the Trump and Bannon lies.  Flake was the tea party before there was even a tea party.

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser It has everything to do with immigration, trade, America first and border policy. 


Please stay out of things you have little to no understanding about. 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser Lies, like I said Flake was the tea party before there was a tea party.  He has always been a republican even when Trump was still a democrat.  He has a 96% conservative voting record, that's a fact and on record.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder


 @DownInAlbany - "Even MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, host of All In with Chris, seemed surprised, tweeting, “…this somewhat more direct than some independent donor doing it.” 


You able to show us that tweet?  Because if you can't, it seems as if you got busted in (yet another) lie...

gotalife
gotalife

Obviously, Hillary did not cheat enough.


It is all about winning elections.


Focus dems and stop trying to govern. Country last.


Voters don't care about the truth or failure to govern.

Vindicator
Vindicator

Bookman hasn't even checked in and his minions are having a cow trying to deflect their newest scandal. I love it. Heads exploding lefties? 

Come on Bookie. Let's get the Trump Derangement Syndrome and the spin underway.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@Vindicator  He'll be around, shortly, with today's shiny object.  Vegas won't touch the odds of it being on the Dem's latest (and, possibly "greatest") scandal.

honested
honested

@DownInAlbany @Vindicator 

What is it you speak of that is either 'new' or 'scandalous'?

I can hardly wait until you guys discover other new stuff on the horizon like Halloween!

honested
honested

@Vindicator @honested 

When something has been discussed in polite company for over a year, it is hardly new or scandalous.

Tough for you guys though.

Vindicator
Vindicator

@honested @DownInAlbany @Vindicator You make no sense, but then you losers keep having scandals and don't even know you are having scandals. That's called chronic offenders or criminally-minded personalities.