Senator Jeff Flake is one of the few Republicans willing to speak out against Donald Trump. The Arizona junior senator decided against running for the Senate again, but could he knock the sitting president off of his bedrock evangelical Christian pedestal?
The conservative senator wrote a book last summer, which is often the first step in running for the presidency now. In it, he was highly critical of Trump.
Moderate Republican writer for The New York Times, David Brooks, describes Flake’s book, Conscience of a Conservative:
‘Conscience of a Conservative . . . is a thoughtful defense of traditional conservatism and a thorough assault on the way Donald Trump is betraying it. . . . Flake is in most ways an ideal public servant. He is an ideological purist but a temperamental conciliator. On spending and free trade he takes lonely principled stands; on immigration he’s crafted difficult bipartisan compromises.’
As outspoken as Flake is, an open mic caught him unaware. After he spoke at a tax reform event, he could be heard talking to his friend, Mesa (Arizona) Mayor John Giles. ABC affiliate KNXV caught the conversation:
‘If we become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump, we are toast.’
Moore is the evangelical Christian Republican running for the Alabama Senate seat left open when Jeff Sessions accepted his current role of attorney general for the U.S.
So far, nine women have come forward to accuse the Alabama former judge of sexual harassment and assault. One of his victims was 14-years-old at the time.
In spite of the heavy criticism, Moore refuses to quit the race, leaving the Senate in a quandary.
He told ABC News’ Mary Bruce of Moore in a Capitol Hill interview November 9:
‘If there is any shred of truth to these stories, he ought to step aside. And now.’
Ever since his book came out, Flake has been criticizing Trump and the GOP for failing to do their jobs. Friday, the mic caught Mayor Giles urging him to run for president in the 2020 election:
‘I am not throwing smoke at you, but you are the guy — just for fun, think about how much fun it would be — just to be the foil, you know, and point out what an idiot this guy (Trump) is. Anyway, I hope you do it.’
Flake gave a fiery speech in the Senate, when he called the president out:
‘We must dedicate ourselves to making sure that the anomalies never becomes the normal, with respect and humility.’
Forbes Magazine said it admired Flake’s courage, according to the publisher Penguin Random House, writing:
‘Flake is taking a stance only a few conservatives are willing to take publicly.’
Time Magazine also commented on Flake’s book, Penguin Random House wrote:
‘In the most remarkable example of public Trump-bashing, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona is taking aim at the president.’
NPR described the Flake book as:
‘Flake’s 136-page manifesto pulls no punches. . . . There are humanizing elements and personal reflections throughout that give a glimpse into how his upbringing and faith have shaped his conservative worldview.’
Columnist for The Washington Post, Michael Gerson said:
‘No major elected Republican has provided a comprehensive critique of Trumpism itself. Until now. Sen. Jeff Flake’s new book, Conscience of a Conservative, is a white-hot indictment of Republican cowardice in the face of a hostile ideological takeover. It also represents the single largest act of political bravery of the Trump era.’
Jennifer Senior with the New York Times said:
‘It’s striking how many influential figures in this slim volume he manages to impale with a stick and then lightly spit-roast. . . . He offers a despairing, unsparing indictment of everyone in Congress who went along with Trump’s election.’
Featured Image via Getty Images/Win McNamee.