“If we become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump, we are toast.”
— Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), caught on a live microphone by KNXV-TV.
Jeff Flake: “I can say that reading these letters has been one of the most humbling experiences of my public life. To be clear: I don’t find them humbling because the people who wrote to me liked the speech. Indeed, some didn’t. I am humbled because until now I didn’t fully grasp the level of anxiety and real pain that exists across the country due to the state of our national leadership.”
“These writers despair not just for the chaos emanating from the White House, but for the moral vandalism that has been set loose in our culture, as well as the seeming disregard for the institutions of American democracy. The damage to our democracy seems to come daily now, most recently with the president’s venting late last week that if he had his way, he would hijack the American justice system to conduct political prosecutions — a practice that only happens in the very worst places on earth. And as this behavior continues, it is not just our politics being disfigured, but the American sense of well-being and time-honored notions of the common good.”
“Every president has made poor decisions and every president has at some time or other been judged to be taking us down the wrong path. But such judgments have always been accompanied by a sense that better choices and more appropriate behavior would be forthcoming. I wish I could say that is the case here. But if we are honest with ourselves, we all know that things will not improve.”
“It’s not that you have to just be with the president on policy, you can’t question his behavior and still be a Republican in good standing apparently in a Republican primary.”
— Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), in an interview on Morning Joe.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) refused to rule out mounting a bid to unseat President Trump in 2020, insisting that such a decision is “a long way away,” Politico reports.
Said Flake: “That’s a long way away. I’m focused on my next 14 months in the senate, making sure that we get some good policy, there are some things that I want to accomplish in the short term.”
For members: Why Trump Will Probably Face a Primary Challenge
Playbook: “People involved in the race tell us Flake’s support completely disappeared after he released his book, Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle. Republicans say they and Flake, himself, knew he was going to lose.”
Just before Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) announced he would not run for re-election, he told the Arizona Republic that “there may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party.”
Said Flake: “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… 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.”
Flake also has an op-ed in the Washington Post:
There is a sickness in our system — and it is contagious. How many more disgraceful public feuds with Gold Star families can we witness in silence before we ourselves are disgraced? How many more times will we see moral ambiguity in the face of shocking bigotry and shrug it off? How many more childish insults do we need to see hurled at a hostile foreign power before we acknowledge the senseless danger of it? How much more damage to our democracy and to the institutions of American liberty do we need to witness in silence before we count ourselves as complicit in that damage?
“We must stop pretending that the degradation of politics in our executive branch are normal, they’re not normal… it’s reckless, outrageous, and undignified… it’s dangerous to our democracy.”
— Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), in a speech announcing he will not run for re-election.
“Condemning the nastiness of Republican politics in the era of President Trump, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on Tuesday announced he will serve out the remainder of his term but will not seek re-election in 2018,” the Arizona Republic reports.
“The bombshell… will further roil Republican hopes of keeping the party’s 52-seat Senate majority in the midterm elections of Trump’s first term, when the president’s party historically loses seats in Congress.”
New York Times: “Mr. Flake is perhaps the most endangered Senate Republican, with an approval rating in one recent poll of just 18 percent among Arizonans. Mr. Trump has savaged Mr. Flake as ‘toxic’ and a ‘flake,’ and has encouraged a primary challenge against him that has left the senator squeezed not only from the left but also the right. His fate is an object lesson for other Republicans who might consider voicing dire thoughts about the president’s fitness: Cross Mr. Trump, and your political career could well be over.”
President Trump “faces a decision on Tuesday evening with profound implications for his already strained relationship with the GOP: Whether to attack a vulnerable Republican senator on his home turf,” Politico reports.
“While White House officials won’t say exactly what’s on Trump’s agenda when he holds a campaign-style rally here, there is a widespread expectation that he will go after GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, a loud critic of the president who recently published an anti-Trump manifesto, Conscience of a Conservative.”
Flake to the Los Angeles Times: “I don’t worry about it at all.”
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) “has raised eyebrows by calling his new anti-Trump manifesto Conscience of a Conservative. That’s because Barry Goldwater’s 1960 book of that title, which stayed on the Times nonfiction list for 31 weeks, is still revered as a founding document of the modern conservative movement,” the New York Times reports.
“Right-wing commentators who aren’t as ready to abandon the president see Flake’s appropriation of the name more as apostasy than as the homage Flake intended, and object to the book’s attacks on the Republican establishment.”
“It’s too soon to say how any of this will affect Flake’s chances for re-election next year. But it hasn’t hurt him in bookstores: Conscience of a Conservative makes its debut on the hardcover nonfiction list at No. 4.”
“One of Donald Trump’s most generous political benefactors is providing a six-figure donation to a super PAC devoted to unseating Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who has been fiercely critical of the president,” Politico reports.
“Robert Mercer, a reclusive hedge fund billionaire who was intimately involved in Trump’s rise and helped to bankroll his 2016 campaign, is contributing $300,000 to a super PAC supporting former state Sen. Kelli Ward, who is challenging Flake in a Republican primary next year.”
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Arizona finds Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) approval rate at just 18%, with 62% disapproving.
In contrast, President Trump’s approval rate in the state is 44% to 53%.
If the 2018 election were held today, Flake would lose to a generic Democrat, 47% to 31%.
“Jeff Flake’s scathing critique of Donald Trump roiled the Capitol – and potentially his own reelection bid — on Tuesday as the first-term senator pressed his case that the GOP aided and abetted the president’s rise,” Politico reports.
“Flake’s fellow GOP senators applauded him for writing his new book on conservatism, yet few were willing to endorse his central message: Their party has done little to push back against Trump… Even the most ardent Trump critics on Capitol Hill distanced themselves from Flake’s blistering critique, laid out in his newly-released book.”
New York Times: “It seems safe to say that Senator Jeff Flake’s new anti-Trump book is politically contraindicated. His approval ratings in his home state, Arizona, are so low they are somewhere down in a missile silo; according to Politico, the president has privately said he would spend $10 million in the Republican primary to whisk Flake out of the Senate with a broom.”
“Then again, maybe this is what a man who’s facing political expiration does: speaks his mind, goes for broke. Or perhaps he’s simply fed up. Flake was one of the few Never Trumpers in Congress to remain so right through Election Day.”
“Whatever his reasons, Flake has gone ‘Bulworth‘ on us, emulating that movie’s devil-may-care, truth-telling politician, in Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle. It’s striking how many influential figures in this slim volume he manages to impale with a stick and then lightly spit-roast.”