Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) blasted President Trump on the senate floor today as he made his official announcement that he will not seek re-election in 2018. Flake’s departure from Congress is bound to be a major development in the Republican Party’s between pro-Trump factions and more traditional conservative politicians. The senator seemed to acknowledge this as he spoke about his regrets for deteriorating political discourse, American leadership, and the country’s moral authority on the world stage “There are times when we must risk our careers in favor of our principles. Now is such a time. It must also be said that I rise today with no small measure of regret. Regret, because of the state of our disunion, regret because of the disrepair and d of our politics, regret because of the indecency of our discourse, regret because of the coarseness of our leadership, regret for the compromise of our moral authority, and by our – all of our – complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs.”
Flake went on to say that Trump’s “reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior” presents a danger to democracy that must not be accepted as a political normality. He also lamented the decline of political decency and behavior, as well as the GOP’s failure in calling out Trump’s missteps for the sake of party interests. “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”Senator Jeff Flake, one of President Trump’s most vocal Republican critics in the Senate, has announced that he is not running for reelection. The Arizona Republic broke the news, and Flake very directly makes it clear that he’s concerned about the state of the GOP: He told The Arizona Republic ahead of his announcement that he has become convinced “there may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party.” Flake said he has not “soured on the Senate” and loves the institution, but that as a traditional, libertarian-leaning conservative Republican he is out of step with today’s Trump-dominated GOP. “This spell will pass, but not by next year,” Flake said. He added, “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.” This news comes just weeks after Bob Corker –– another strong Republican critic of the President’s –– announced he’s not running for reelection either. And after Corker went public with some of his tough talk about Trump earlier this month, Flake said a lot of Republicans share Corker’s concerns.