President Trump’s list of allies within the Senate for 2018 shrunk by one more member today.
Not that Senator Flake was ever counted as a friend of the presidency. Donald Trump has been an open supporter of candidates against the more moderate Flake, even spending $10 million out of his own pocket to oust the incumbent senator. Thanks to this opposition, Senator Flake was facing a tough reelection bid in 2018 against the far-right Republican candidate Kelli Ward, who targeted Flake as being lenient on immigration and against the presidency.
This opposition to Trump was brought home in Flake’s fire and brimstone speech against the presidency when he announced that he would not be running for reelection in 2018. He was quoted as claiming that Trump is “dangerous to a democracy” and that Trump’s behavior is “Reckless, outrageous and undignified.”
“None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal…We must never allow ourselves to lapse into thinking that is just the way things are now. If we simply become enamored to this condition, thinking that it’s just politics as usual, then heaven help us.”
Jeff Flake, a prominent LDS member, also felt that in order to win reelection, he would have to become something that he was not.
“Here’s the bottom line: 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…It would require me to believe in positions I don’t hold on such issues as trade and immigration and it would require me to condone behavior that I cannot condone.”
This announcement was greeted by the standing ovation of at least two other Republican senators, both John McCain (R-AZ) and Bob Corker (R-TN) who are no friends of the president either.
Vox.com has more information about the announcement and here is a transcript of Senator Flake’s speech on the Senate floor.