In a surprising move, one powerful and influential Republican Senator announced his retirement on Tuesday.
According to Fox News, this particular Senator has been very publicly anti-Trump. It’s Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and he had some nasty parting words for his party and the President when he announced his retirement.
It’s no news that Sen. Flake has been a detractor of President Trump. In August, he wrote a lengthy opinion piece in The New York Times opposing President Trump on the newly unveiled immigration policies.
President Trump fired back against the criticism on Twitter saying, “Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He’s toxic!”
Sen. Flake’s announcement of his departure was loaded with attacks against both the President and the GOP, according to CBS News. He criticized the behavior of the President saying, “It is dangerous to our democracy,” then rhetorically asked, “Why didn’t you speak up? What are we going to say? Mr. President, I rise today to say, enough.”
He claimed that traditional conservatism no longer had a place in Washington. “It is clear at this moment that a traditional conservative…has a narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican Party,” Mr. Flake said.
Sen. Flake initially announced his intention to retire in an interview with The Arizona Republic. He told reporters, “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.”
He explained saying, “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. There may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party.”
Yet Flake’s claim that he’s leaving due to ethical differences with President Trump and the GOP is a little suspicious when considering his approval numbers among Arizona voters, according to The Daily Wire. Before his anti-Trump retirement speech, his approval rating was sitting at 18 percent.
Also interesting is that when he was first elected to the Senate, he was considered extremely unpopular. Part of the reason may have been running as a hard-line Republican only to shift towards the middle once in office. He supported Gang of Eight immigration reform, opposed Obamacare defunding, voted for debt ceiling increases raising the national debt, and supported gun control.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made the argument Tuesday that considering his “previous statements and the lack of support he has in Arizona,” his retirement “is probably a good move.”
Sen. Flake announced he will not be seeking re-election next year because he does not support President Trump. Do you think his parting words are insulting to the President?
Considering his apparent unpopularity in his own state, it’s unlikely that Mr. Flake would’ve been able to win re-election anyway. It’s possible that Flake understood this and decided to use his retirement as a last jab toward the President and the GOP, claiming to be taking the moral and ethical high ground with his departure.
Given his “on the fence” stance on many political issues, his anti-Trump attitude, and this seeming last-minute emotional exploitation, it’s probably in the best interest of his constituents that he’s leaving.