Republican Jeff Flake, currently serving as the junior United States Senator from Arizona, launched a verbal attack on President Donald Trump today, calling him, among other things, a “vandal” who has “debased” the presidency.
In his remarks to Harvard Law students, Senator Flake – a long-time critic of President Trump’s policies – took aim at the POTUS, delivering harsh criticism. Acording to prepared remarks obtained by CBS News ahead of the speech, Flake said the following.
“Our presidency has been debased. By a figure who has a seemingly bottomless appetite for destruction and division. And only a passing familiarity with how the Constitution works.”
Flake did not leave Congress out of his criticism, on the contrary. The Republican Senator called out the bicameral legislature of the Federal government of the United States, accusing his colleagues of being “utterly supine.”
“And our Article I branch of government, the Congress (that’s me), is utterly supine in the face of the moral vandalism that flows from the White House daily.”
In a final jab at the President and the Congress, Senator Flake said that the country “hit bottom,” arguing that democracy has been degraded in the United States.
“Our most ardent enemies, doing their worst, and they are doing their worst, couldn’t hurt us more than we are hurting ourselves.”
He told the students to “to make sure that this degradation of democracy does not continue – to see to it that our current flirtation with lawlessness and authoritarianism does not become a heritable trait to be passed down from this presidency.”
This is not the first time for Flake to criticize the President. In November 2017, as the Los Angeles Times noted, Flake said his party would be “toast,” if it decides to back Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
As Quartz previously reported, nine women accused Moore of sexual misconduct. The women said Moore pursued them as teenagers when he was in his thirties. President Trump has repeatedly backed Moore, tweeting in his support, calling him a fighter, a person ready to help the U.S. Senate.
President Trump was not immune to Flake’s criticism. He took to Twitter to call Senator Flake’s political career “toast.” Following Trump’s Twitter jabs, the two Republicans went back and forth, arguing over the social network. After refusing to support Roy Moore, Flake said he would rather vote for a Democrat, if he were in Alabama and had to choose between Moore and his counter-candidate, the Democratic challenger Doug Jones.
About a month later, as the New York Times reported, Doug Jones became the first Democrat to win any statewide office in Alabama in a decade.
In what can be considered his harshest criticism of President Trump to date, according to CBS News, Senator Flake took a step further, mentioning President Trump’s reality television career. Speaking to Harvard students, GOP Senator Jeff Flake said that not even the Founding Fathers could have anticipated that the “beauty of their invention might someday founder on the rocks of reality television.”
Jeff Flake is retiring in January after one term in the Senate and six terms in the House. According to CBS, Flake delivered a similar speech earlier this year. Delivered at a political breakfast series often headlined by potential presidential candidates, the speech hinted Flake could be running for president, but Flake has not formally launched a bid, yet.