Sen. Jeff Flake’s remarks from Senate floor | 4:54
Sen. Jeff Flake on Tuesday condemned the nastiness of politics and announced he will not seek re-election in 2018. C-SPAN
Sen. John McCain praises Flake | 2:36
Sen. John McCain praised Sen. Jeff Flake for his service immediately after Flake announced from the floor that he would not seek re-election. C-SPAN.
Mitch McConnell praises Flake | 1:01
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Sen. Jeff Flake for his service immediately after Flake announced from the floor that he would not seek re-election. C-SPAN
Sen. Jeff Flake announces he will not seek re-election | 3:22
The bombshell, which Flake, R-Ariz., detailed Tuesday afternoon on the Senate floor, will further roil Republican hopes of keeping the party’s 52-seat Senate majority in the midterm elections of Trump’s first term. azcentral.com
Kelli Ward answers questions after Jeff Flake announces he won’t run again | 14:05
Republic reporter Yvonne Wingett Sanchez asks former state lawmaker Kelli Ward about U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake’s announcement he won’t run again, President Donald Trump, and what Arizona voters want next. Nate Kelly/azcentral.com
Jeff Flake’s new book takes a swipe at Trump | 0:50
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake criticizes the politics and policies of President Trump in his new book, Conscience of a Conservative.
Sen. John McCain on Sen. Jeff Flake’s book | 1:49
Sen. John McCain talks about his respect for fellow Arizona senator Jeff Flake and discusses Flake’s new book during an interview with The Arizona Republic on Aug. 3, 2017. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral.com
Arizonans protest at U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake’s office | 0:23
A group of Arizonans marched into U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake’s office at 10:40 a.m. and told staff working there to call Flake right away and have him give his position on the American Health Care Act. Sean Na/azcentral.com
Highlights from Sen. Jeff Flake’s town hall | 2:37
U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake faced angry constituents who questioned him on health-care reform, the proposed border wall and other issues at a town hall in Mesa on April 13, 2017.
Town Hall chants ‘Shame on you’ to Sen. Flake | 0:28
The crowd responds to Sen. Jeff Flake talking about voting on the “nuclear option” of axing the filibuster for Supreme Court Nominees with boos and a chant on April 13, 2017.
McCain and Flake constituents can’t get through | 1:24
Constituents are swamping Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake with phone calls about President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees, and the senators’ staffs are struggling to keep the office voice-mail boxes open, leading to frustration for some callers.
Jeff Flake stumps for John McCain | 1:41
U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., stumps for U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., at the Mesa rally. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral.com
Sen. Jeff Flake talks solidarity at mosque | 2:04
Sen. Jeff Flake brought a message of solidarity on his first visit to a mosque service and spoke about why he decided to go.
Dan Nowicki/The Republic
‘Very weak and ineffective’: Donald Trump blasts Republican senator Jeff Flake | 0:46
Donald Trump lashed out at Sen. Jeff Flake on Sunday after the Republican from Arizona said he wasn’t ready to vote for Trump.
Last VideoNext Video
Editorial: Morning in America? Not quite. But Jeff Flake’s speech offers great optimism for this country – and an even larger challenge for all of us.
At a dark time in American politics, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake offered a little light to show the way.
Clearly his message on Tuesday did not sound hopeful.
It was, in fact, a sad moment as Arizona’s junior senator explained how the politics of our times crowded out a principled guy like him.
This accomplished first-term senator grimly explained that he won’t seek re-election in an era when “political considerations … would cause me to compromise far too many principles.”
He was, of course, talking about the 2018 GOP primary race – a race in which fealty to Trump will be a litmus test. The independent-minded Flake already flunked that test.
In his book “Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle,” Flake put on paper the criticism of Trump’s style he had previously expressed publicly.
In the poisonous atmosphere of Donald Trump’s GOP, Flake said he can no longer be “complicit” in the “alarming and dangerous state of affairs” in American politics.
Trump’s grip won’t last forever
You have to look closely to see a glimmer of optimism in this exit speech.
But it was there.
“This spell will eventually break,” Flake said.
“Because to have a healthy government we must have healthy and functioning parties. We must respect each other again in an atmosphere of shared facts and shared values, comity and good faith. We must argue our positions fervently, and never be afraid to compromise. We must assume the best of our fellow man, and always look for the good,” he said.
ROBB: Flake wasn’t afraid to lose. He didn’t like where Trump was taking GOP
How? He answered that one, too.
“Until that day comes, we must be unafraid to stand up and speak out as if our country depends on it. Because it does.”
In a world where political debate is increasingly conducted in Twitter bursts, Flake took his time to outline a problem that is painfully clear to many, many Americans.
We live in time, he said, “when it seems that our democracy is more defined by our discord and our dysfunction than it is by our values and our principles.”
Why Flake (and others) must speak up
We all know politics is about hot kitchens and hard ball. Always has been. For decades, elder statesmen and women have decried the loss of comity and the rise of animosity among political rivals.
Flake knows this, too.
But Donald Trump’s presidency has taken things to a disturbing new low.
This is a president who tweeted earlier this month that it might be time to “challenge their license,” after NBC News aired a report he didn’t like. It’s the kind of threat you expect from a Third World despot. Not the president of the United States.
Not here. Not yet.
Flake decried “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, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve.”
This is not a new litany of offenses. Trump has been consistent in his disrespect for the dignity of the office he holds.
Mainstream Republicans spoke against Trump’s style and lack of substance as he muscled his way through the GOP primaries. The criticism continued as he brought his divisive tactics to the White House.
In addition to Flake, Republicans Sens. John McCain, Bob Corker and Ben Sasse have been sounding the alarm. Former President George W. Bush also criticized Trumpism – without mentioning Trump.
Yet Trump’s base remains solidly in support of the man – the man, not necessarily the principles of the party he heads.
Don’t fall prey to outrage fatigue
So why speak out now?
Flake said it was because the children are watching. He spoke about duty. About America’s ideals.
Trump is the titular head of the Republican Party, not his own cult of personality. Yet Trump uses his position to divide the American people to promote himself as the singular solution to all problems.
“There is an undeniable potency to a populist appeal – but mischaracterizing or misunderstanding our problems and giving in to the impulse to scapegoat and belittle threatens to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking people,” Flake said. “In the case of the Republican party, those things also threaten to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking minority party.”
MORE: Trump unleashes on Flake, says he’s ‘done terribly’ for Arizona
America is on the brink of outrage fatigue. Trump is making the offensive feel commonplace.
This is where Flake challenged America to look back down the long, mirrored corridors of our history and our heritage. To remember that we are better than this. And to say so.
“Without fear of the consequences, and without consideration of the rules of what is politically safe or palatable, we must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal,” he said. “They are not normal.”
Those words illuminate the way out of the corrosive and dysfunctional politics of today.
Those who want to keep this from becoming a “new normal” need to speak out.
They need to answer what Flake called the “reckless, outrageous, and undignified” habits of this administration by standing up for unity, decency and dignity.
This is the light of truth we need to find our way back.
We want to hear from you! Send us a letter to the editor to respond to this editorial. Also be sure to sign up for our free, emailed opinion newsletter.
Bisbee’s plastic bags aren’t the enemy. This law is
This is the Obamacare Band-Aid we need
Gov. Ducey’s staff raises were a failure of leading by example
Powered by Day Break Times