he will not be running for re-election next year.Republican Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, known for his libertarian leanings and more recently for his critique of President Donald Trump's behavior, announced today
He will serve out the rest of his term, but he told the Arizona Republic, "there may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party."
He explained further that he simply could not toe the line with the president's restrictionist attitudes on trade and immigration:
"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 told The Republic in a telephone 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."
He's giving speech on the Senate floor this afternoon (at the time of this blog post, actually). The Arizona Republic got a copy of his prepared statement:
"We must never regard as 'normal' the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals," Flake says in his remarks as prepared for delivery. "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.
UPDATE: Here is the full text of Flake's remarks
UPDATE II: CNN has posted the video of the Senate speech online:
There will be more to come on the fallout and consequences of Flake's decisions (plus whatever Trump tweets). In the meantime, watch Flake speak at a Reason's 40th anniversary gala in 2008 below:
Photo Credit: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Newscom