Jeff Flake, the Republican Senator from Arizona, has announced that he will not go for a re-election. The senator is a known President Donald Trump critic. Flake lamented the coarsening politics of the Trump era. The Arizona Senator denounced complicity of the GOP in this, blaming the President himself for such a sorry state of affairs. He mentioned that the recent period showed a clear disregard for decency and mentioned that a casual undermining of all democratic norms is presently taking place. He said what makes it worse is that it comes from the government.
Staying silent is not an option
The decision by Flake not to go for re-election means he is joining the likes of Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee as a fierce Trump critic. They now both have nothing to lose prior to the midterm elections in 2018.
Flake mentioned that those who did not speak up during this time will be judged by history. He said that it is not the time to stay silent as the values and the norms which keep the United States strong are being undermined along with the agreements and the alliances that make sure the world is kept stable. The Senator took a swipe at Trump's social media habit, mentioning that the President's thought level can be described perfectly within 140 characters. He urged those listening to do something to oppose such behavior.
White House response
The White House had an acidic response to Flake's speech. It suggested that Flake has chosen an excellent time to retire. It said that the Senator has lost the confidence of his electorate. Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, implied that he will not be re-elected if he contested.
For Trump, this retirement comes both as a boon and a curse. The positive point is that the Senator will be substituted by a more supportive GOP member. It also implies that the Democrats have a greater chance of winning the seat. Arizona, once a GOP stronghold, is now not a sure-win state for the Republicans. It is also a vital state for the midterm elections.
Flake's speech gave him a standing ovation from a number of GOP Senators. John McCain and Corker applauded loudly when he concluded his speech. Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming was also effusive in his praise. Senator Corker described him as one of the best he has served with. The latter described him as a real conservative.