OCTOBER 24, 2017
On what the Republican Party called GOP Unity Day, the result was anything but, as a second distinguished Republican Senator, Jeff Flake of Arizona, announced that, rather than putting up with working with Donald Trump for another term, he would prefer to retire from the Senate. Flake joined TN Sen. Bob Corker in bidding adieu to the responsibility of trying to defend every early morning tweet tapped out by the party’s standard bearer.
It was probably little surprise to Washington insiders that Flake would be taking his leave after he wrote a book, published this summer, entitled “Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle” which was read by many Trump-ites as a critique of the President, as Trump is widely considered by political observers to have no principles.
However, the timing of Flake’s resignation caught several GOP leaders by surprise. Yes, Corker was being challenged by a strong Steve Bannon-backed ultra-conservative challenger in his 2018 primary should he have decided to run for reelection. But Flake’s announcement coming so close to Sen. Corker’s retirement declaration had GOP leaders worried that even more would come on Tuesday afternoon.
The worry by GOP leaders was not so much that Democrats would win their seats (AZ and TN are now fairly reliable red states), but that the Bannon wing of the party might push through a real nutcase, such as Christine “I am not a witch” O’Donnell, Todd “legitimate rape” Aiken or Sharron “second amendment remedies” Angle. If someone like those cuckoo birds manages to get the GOP nod in those states, then the Democrats actually could have a chance to win.
While Corker continued to troll Trump on Twitter, calling Trump’s White House an “adult day care center,” Flake took to the Senate floor on Tuesday afternoon and gave an erudite explanation, as a Republican, as to what he feels about Trump:
“When the next generation asks us, ‘Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up?’ what are we going to say? Mr. President, I rise to say “Enough!”
Look, I wasn’t born yesterday. I know who both of these guys are — solid, right-wing conservatives who would just as soon take away your rights than to sneeze. I get it, and I am not lionizing them because of their political beliefs. But I wanted to point out the fact that these guys see through the Trump charade in a way that none of their colleagues yet have (or are afraid to say) does deserve some credit, especially since the majority of the Republican electorate still cling to Trump as if he’s their binkie.
So bravo to Sens. Corker and Flake for their words and deeds — you have 19 more months left on your term to really stir the pot.