Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s recent comments about President Donald Trump and the Republican party are causing quite a stir online.
Flake, a graduate of BYU, penned a book titled "The Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle.” His comments throughout not only critique Republican lawmakers but Trump as well.
An excerpt from the book — titled “My Party Is in Denial About Donald Trump” — ran on Politico Monday morning.
The article’s subhead tellingly cut to the point of the excerpt: “We created him, and now we're rationalizing him. When will it stop?”
Flake said in the excerpt that Congress should act for the good of the people and the party, but not necessarily for the president.
"There was a time when the leadership of the Congress from both parties felt an institutional loyalty that would frequently create bonds across party lines in defense of congressional prerogatives in a unified front against the White House, regardless of the president's party,” he wrote.
Flake also said the American people should not be afraid to speak out against the president.
"We shouldn't hesitate to speak out if the president 'plays to the base' in ways that damage the Republican Party's ability to grow and speak to a larger audience,” he wrote.
You can read the full excerpt at Politico.
For a list of important quotes from the excerpt, head to CNN.
The article has received a chunk of reaction. Jennifer Senior, writer for the Books of The Times at The New York Times, wonders what Flake’s book will do for the Republican Party, if anything at all.
Senior referred to Flake's low approval ratings.
“Then again, maybe this is what a man who’s facing political expiration does: speaks his mind, goes for broke. Or perhaps he’s simply fed up. Flake was one of the few Never Trumpers in Congress to remain so right through Election Day,” Senior wrote.
Senior wrote it’s not surprising that Flake penned book, since he’s basically “declaring Trump a domestic and international menace.”
She also points out that Flake is taking a bold step forward.
“Flake is the first elected official to cross this particular rhetorical Rubicon, and he seems to be imploring his colleagues to follow,” Senior wrote. “He offers a despairing, unsparing indictment of everyone in Congress who went along with Trump’s election.”
But Robert Robb of AZCentral.com said Flake “loses his way” in this piece, saying that conservatives led to the rise of Trump, even though not all conservatives agreed with the Republican Party in electing the president.
“It is here that I believe Flake loses his way by failing to distinguish between conservatism and the Republican Party,” Robb wrote. “While conservatives have sought to advance political aims through the Republican Party, the Republican Party has never been a truly conservative party.”
Robb also said this book puts Flake in a vulnerable position.
“Flake is correct that the market for the politics of inclusion and expansion has shrunk, and that Trump represents a singular threat to it,” he wrote. “With this book, he has put his political career on the line in an attempt to expand it.”
Similarly, Cheryl Chumley of The Washington Times said the book will give Flake “a shiny moment in the sun with the left," but hurt his chances of succeeding on the right.
"But it’s alienating him with the conservatives who elected Trump,” she wrote. “It’s showing him as part and parcel of the elitist and entrenched political class voters railed against in 2016."
Flake has long known about the risks of facing off against Trump and the Republican Party. In fact, there have been reports that Trump is willing to spend $10 million to support Flake’s opponent in the 2018 midterm elections.
As The Atlantic reported, Flake has spoken out against Trump and the party by engaging in civil political discourse.
“Flake seems as if he has just landed in a time machine from some bygone era of polite disagreement,” The Atlantic reported.