Tuesday was an extremely busy news day and by 3 p.m. it still hadn’t slowed down especially after it broke that Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) announced he would not seek reelection. That in and of itself was big news on its own. However, the way he announced it was what drew the attention of everyone and resulted in the jubilant cheers and standing ovation from those resisting the Trump presidency.
He did not fail to tell us how he really felt about the president and the current state and atmosphere of politics. He started out criticizing the way the Trump presidency has resulted in a “new normal.” Furthermore, he stated from the very beginning the complicity of the Republican party had to stop.
‘Regret, for the compromise of our moral authority. And by “our,” I mean all of our complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs. It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.
In this century, a new phrase has entered the language to describe the accommodation of a new and undesirable order. That phrase being, “the new normal.”‘
‘We must never allow ourselves to lapse into thinking, “That’s just the way things are now.” If we simply become inured to this condition, thinking that, “It’s just politics as usual,” then heaven help us.’
Yes, heaven help us. America has needed help from the heavens since Trump’s inauguration. He went further and criticized the way people try to wave off concern over Trump’s behavior by saying that’s just blunt honesty.
‘Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as “telling it how it is,” when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified.’
Boom. There goes the dynamite!
Flake never specifically referred to Trump by name. Rather, he opted to call him “Mr. President” and referred to the executive branch.
‘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. They are not normal.’
He described Trump’s behavior as dangerous.
‘And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else: It is dangerous to a democracy.’
He then went on to speak directly to Trump, again referring to him as “Mr. President.”
‘Mr. President, I rise today to say, “Enough.” We must dedicate ourselves to making sure the anomalous never becomes the normal. With respect and humility, I must say that we have fooled ourselves for long enough that a pivot to governing is right around the corner, a return to civility and stability right behind it.’
He then shed a light on the BLATANT hypocrisy in the Republican party saying if it were the other way around, Republicans would be calling for the head of a Democratic president.
‘Were the shoe on the other foot, would we Republicans meekly accept such behavior on display from dominant Democrats? Of course, we wouldn’t, and we would be wrong if we did.’
He then addressed those within the GOP who blindly follow Trump loyally and dutifully.
‘If I have been critical, it is not because I relish criticizing the behavior of a president of the United States. If I have been critical, it is because I believe it is my obligation to do so, and as a matter and duty of conscience.’
He also dealt a veiled blow to Trump’s tweeting habits.
‘The notion that one should stay silent as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined, and as the alliances and agreements that ensure the stability of the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters.’
He did express hope saying he felt that things would get better.
‘This spell will eventually break. That is my belief. We will return to ourselves once more, and I say the sooner, the better. Because to have a healthy government, we must also have healthy and functioning parties.’
Flake’s speech was BEYOND everything the GOP needed to hear. Although many within the party will continue to cower in Trump’s shadow, hopefully, a few more Republicans will be enlightened by Flake’s outstanding speech.
Featured image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.