Former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake is encouraging his fellow Republicans not to support Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign, telling his colleagues that principles are more important than their careers.
In a Monday op-ed in The Washington Post, Flake wrote that he risked his own career in not supporting Trump, which he admitted played a role in his not seeking reelection to the Senate in 2018. However, Flake then went on to say that sometimes one has to do the right thing, even if it means potentially losing your job. When it comes to supporting Trump, every Republican needs to come to grips with that fact.
“For those who want to put America first, it is critically important at this moment in the life of our country that we all, here and now, [put principles first],” he wrote.
Flake then went on to acknowledge that the issue of the day is not necessarily Trump’s upcoming reelection campaign, but rather impeachment, the topic that has dominated headlines for the past several days. Flake admitted that many of his Republican colleagues aren’t on board with impeaching Trump at all, nor do they want to potentially remove him from office. Flake then asked his fellow Republicans to look beyond impeachment, to the 2020 reelection, calling on them to not support Trump’s bid.
“If the House decides against filing articles of impeachment, or the Senate fails to convict, Senate Republicans will have to decide whether, given what we now know about the president’s actions and behavior, to support his reelection. Obviously, the answer is no,” he said.
Flake laid out his reasons for encouraging his fellow Republicans to oppose Trump, beginning with what the former senator observed while traveling to foreign countries in the course of his Senate duties during the early stages of Trump’s presidency. Flake said that, during his travels at that time, he watched America’s standing in the world diminish as Trump expressed fondness for dictators and showed “scorn” for America’s allies.
Flake then pointed out what he witnessed in Washington — Trump’s antagonism towards the press and the judiciary, his “crudeness” to his political adversaries, and his “casual disregard for the truth.”
Then there’s the Ukrainian scandal, which did more than spur Democrats into starting the currently-ongoing impeachment inquiry. As Flake wrote, the scandal clearly demonstrates an abuse of Trump’s presidential power.
Trump’s removal from office via the impeachment process probably isn’t going to result in him not being president, Flake concluded. Rather, the only way to get Trump out of office will be at the ballot box in 2020, and his fellow Republicans absolutely must not support the president’s reelection bid.