Republican Senator Jeff Flake announced today that he won’t seek reelection in 2018, and then he promptly launched into a blistering attack on Donald Trump from the Senate floor, sending shockwaves through the GOP. Flake then appeared on CNN for an interview, where he took his condemnation of Trump even further by comparing him to one of the most egregious political villains in history.
CNN host Jake Tapper asked Jeff Flake if he and his party feel regret for not having spoken out against Donald Trump when he began acting unsuitably and abhorrently during the campaign. Tapper pointed out the Republican Party’s past refusal to take a stand against maniacal Senator Joseph McCarthy during his reign of terror in the 1950s. Flake responded by quoting the best-remembered takedown of McCarthy: “Have you no decency?”
Senator Flake went on to explain that he has an op-ed coming out soon, in which he directly compares the Republican Party’s current complicity toward Donald Trump to its past complicity toward McCarthy. Flake didn’t state which news outlet will be running his op-ed, but based on how he characterized it, it’s clear he’ll be taking his attacks on Trump even further as the week goes on. So what’s next?
Now that Jeff Flake has joined Bob Corker in pre-announcing retirement, it means two prominent Republican Senators are free to work against Donald Trump without any fear of future political blowback. They’ll both remain in the Senate through the midterm elections, meaning they’ll have plenty of opportunities to hit him going forward. They’ve also been joined this week by John McCain, who is unlikely to seek reelection due to age and severe health concerns, and who has also spent the past week attacking Trump. Now we wait to see if any GOP Senators join them who are seeking reelection.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report