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GOP Sen. Flake: Party in Denial on Trump

Image: GOP Sen. Flake: Party in Denial on Trump

By    |   Monday, 31 Jul 2017 08:04 PM

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake is raking his own party over the coals for what he charges is essentially allowing President Donald Trump to proceed unimpeded in a populist quest while conservative principles are quashed.

In an excerpt from his new book, "Conscience of a Conservative," published by Politico on Monday, Arizona's junior senator proclaims: "My Party Is in Denial About Donald Trump." Flake argues that conservatives and liberals alike share the blame for Trump's rise, but said he's focusing on his own house and will let liberals focus on theirs.

The GOP, he says, contributed to the problem by mocking President Barack Obama for failing to deliver on his promise to change the tone in Washington while simultaneously working to ensure Obama failed.

"It was we conservatives who, upon Obama’s election, stated that our No. 1 priority was not advancing a conservative policy agenda but making Obama a one-term president," Flake writes, "the corollary to this binary thinking being that his failure would be our success and the fortunes of the citizenry would presumably be sorted out in the meantime."

And conservatives were mostly silent as attacks on Obama’s legitimacy were leveled by "marginal figures who would later be embraced and legitimized by far too many of us."

Conservatives "rightly and robustly" used their constitutional authority to hold Obama in check, but with Trump in office as a Republican they have kept an "unnerving silence as instability has ensued."

"To carry on in the spring of 2017 as if what was happening was anything approaching normalcy required a determined suspension of critical faculties," Flake said. "And tremendous powers of denial."

But conservatives decided a "Faustian bargain" with Trump was worth it if it meant achieving some of the GOP's policy goals with the party now holding both houses of Congress and the White House, he said.

The deal, Flake says, wasn't worth it.

"If ultimately our principles were so malleable as to no longer be principles, then what was the point of political victories in the first place?" he said.

Flake's wariness of Trump is not new. He was a frequent critic of Trump dating back to the 2016 campaign. Reports last week that Trump is working to recruit primary opponents against him in 2018, didn't seem to phase Flake, who responded, "If the president wants to recruit a primary opponent, that's his prerogative."

In an interview Monday on Fox News Channel's "Special Report," Flake said he will work with Trump on things they agree on and fight him on issues where they don't.

"I think he appointed a great Supreme Court justice" in Neil Gorsuch, Flake told host Bret Baer. But he disagrees with Trump's populist message.

"Populism is called populism for a reason," he said. "It's usually popular. Once you get off the sugar high, the results aren't good."

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Republican Sen. Jeff Flake is raking his own party over the coals for what he charges is essentially allowing President Donald Trump to proceed unimpeded in a populist quest while conservative principles are quashed.In an excerpt from his new book, "Conscience of a...
jeff flake, gop, conservatives, losing, principles, with trump
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2017-04-31
Monday, 31 Jul 2017 08:04 PM
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