Senator Jeff Flake gave a speech on the Senate floor badmouthing president Trump and giving what he said were the reasons he was stepping down.

 

Background:

Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake announced on the Senate floor that he would not seek a re-election bid in 2018 after his encounters with Donald Trump. 

Flake, who didn’t support Trump at all during the 2016 presidential campaign, has gone against Trump on nearly every issue said he’s not willing to go down the road that he’d have to walk to keep his seat.

“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,” Flake said in an interview. “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.”

In his speech, he attacked the president for over 15 minutes:

“We must never regard as ‘normal’ the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. 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, 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.”

Prominent Republican, Sen. John McCain, said he knew beforehand what Flake was thinking, but was hoping that he wouldn’t have given up so soon.

“I knew he was thinking about it, but I’m very sorry it’s happening,” McCain said. “He’s one of the most honorable men I’ve ever known.”

 

What’s Happening Now:

In a later interview with CNN, Flake went more into detail as to why he was stepping down, and what he saw in the future for 2017.

“It’s tough. I’m competitive, I like to fight these battles. But I also know that I couldn’t run the kind of race that I would be proud of and win in a Republican primary at this time,” Flake said. “The politics in that way has changed. You can be conservative on policy and it doesn’t matter it seems as much as being with the president or not criticizing him, even if you think he’s wrong.”

“I can tell you it’s very difficult to be re-elected in the Republican party right now, in Arizona in particular,” he continued. “It doesn’t matter so much the policies you adopt or your votes, it’s if you’re with the president. And I can’t be with the president at all times. I’m sorry.”

According to Flake, many of his colleagues agree with him, and he believes that more of them will speak up after his speech on the Senate floor.

“I hope we’ve reached a tipping point of some type, where we don’t continue to normalize by being silent the kind of behavior that we’ve seen,” he said.

Trump responded on Twitter:

What do you think about Flake stepping down?