Who is Jeff Flake? Why is the junior senator from Arizona catching the attention of the Twitterverse? Why are some people hailing him as the hope of the Republican Party?
He’s one of the few members of Congress, in either house, who doesn’t think bipartisanship is a dirty word.
He refused to put down his senate colleague, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), just because Hillary Clinton chose him as her running mate.
He’s one of the few Republicans to speak up when he thinks his fellow Republicans have gone too far.
He’s one of the many Republicans (including former President George H. W. Bush, former President George W. Bush, and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney) who refused to attend the Republican National Convention to see a man he considers a demagogue nominated as the presidential candidate of the party that was once home to Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan. He was too busy to come because he had to mow his lawn.
Politico reported that Sen. Jeff Flake not only refused to support Trump, but is urging other Republicans to do likewise.
“It’s not a comfortable position to not support your nominee of the party. None of us want to be in this position. But there are certain things that you can’t do as a candidate. And some of the things he’s done I think are beyond the pale.”
When business executive and reality TV star Donald Trump insulted U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, claiming that Curiel was biased against him because Curiel was Mexican, even Speaker of the House Paul Ryan called Trump’s comments racist and unacceptable. Gonzalo Curiel is a native-born U. S. citizen, born in East Chicago, Indiana. Ryan said Trump’s complaint against Curiel was “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” Jeff Flake, who represents many Mexican-Americans citizens, said Trump should apologize, and was upset that he didn’t.
“To say that his statement was just mischaracterized is wrong. That statement should be retracted. And he ought to apologize for it.”
Sen. Flake expressed concern that having Trump as the Republican nominee could hurt other Republican candidates. He said he was glad he wasn’t up for re-election this year.
“This will affect the down-ballot races in the Senate and the House and everywhere. It really has an impact.”
High Country News reported that “Flake’s principled disapproval of Trump’s positions on race and immigration have propelled him onto the national stage.” Flake and other Republican senators met with Trump in June, and Jeff Flake told Donald Trump to his face that his bigoted language was inappropriate.
When Donald Trump said back in December that Muslims should be banned from entering the U.S., Sen. Flake, a devout Mormon, visited a mosque in Scottsdale, AZ. He attended a Friday afternoon prayer service, spoke to the congregation, and praised Muslim soldiers, firefighters, and police officers. He complained that Trump’s anti-Muslim diatribes were un-American, that Trump’s bigotry was “not in keeping with the values and ideals that have made this country the shining city on the hill that it is.”
“Somebody at this point has to push back and has to say this is not our party; our party does not espouse these kinds of sentiments and we don’t say these kinds of things or we will be relegated to second place in every election coming up.”
Meghan McCain, daughter of Sen. John McCain, tweeted that Trump’s GOP was not the party it used to be. Sen. Flake just might be the man to resuscitate the Republican Party after Trump is done twisting it into his own image.
Who is Senator Jeff Flake? He’s a politician to keep an eye on in the future.
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