Senator Jeff Flake, a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, announced last month that he will not seek re-election in 2018. Flake addressed the Senate on Oct. 24 with a speech condemning the “discord” and “dysfunction” of today’s politics and the current “coarseness of our national dialogue.”
Flake has lost Republican support in Arizona after speaking out against the president and criticizing him in his recent book. Flake faced a tough campaign in next year’s primary and general elections. The conservative senator’s problems with the current administration seem rooted in practice, not policy, as Flake has voted in line with his fellow Republicans on the majority of issues.
In his speech on the Senate floor, Flake quoted former presidents James Madison, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, and decried the current climate in the Capitol, saying he will not be “complicit.”
"We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country—the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations,” Flake told his fellow senators.
“We must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal,” said Flake. He noted that “reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior” has become the new normal, and warned that it is “dangerous to a democracy.”
“It is often said that children are watching. Well, they are,” Flake said. “Mr. President, I rise today to say: Enough.”
Flake, from Snowflake, AZ, was elected to the House of Representatives in 2000 and then the Senate in 2012. Arizona Sen. John McCain announced earlier this year that he is battling a very malignant form of brain cancer. McCain, Flake and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker have stood up against the president in the press.
“We were not made great as a country by indulging…our worst impulses, turning against ourselves, glorying in the things which divide us, and calling fake things true and true things fake,” said Flake. “We must be unafraid to stand up and speak out.”