Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake made national headlines over the weekend for his role in the vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh last Friday.
As the Associated Press reported, Flake told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh and move the vote to the Senate floor as long as the committee approved an FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.
Flake’s decision reverberated throughout Washington. The committee approved the motion, as did President Donald Trump, who instructed the FBI to take no more than a week in its investigation.
Since that time, Flake has made national headlines. We’ve collected six stories that focus on Flake and his decision last Friday.
Carl Huse of The New York Times wrote that Flake might have helped save the Republican Party:
- “Provided the new investigation doesn’t turn up damaging information, the inquiry could ultimately make it easier for uncertain Republicans to back Judge Kavanaugh as soon as this week. It could also temper the perception that Republicans were much more interested in getting Judge Kavanaugh onto the court as quickly as they could rather than determining the validity of sexual misconduct accusations against him.”
The New York Times podcast The Daily focused on "the anguish" of Flake, saying that his decision to delay the vote could define his legacy.
The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins sat down with Flake on Saturday night to talk about his decision. Flake said he’s unsure of the exact reason he changed his mind.
- “I don’t know if there was any one thing, but I was just unsettled. You know, when I got back to the committee, I saw the food fight again between the parties — the Democrats saying they’re going to walk out, the Republicans blaming everything on the Democrats.”
- “I’ve felt that this delay is as much to help him as us. My hope is that some Democrats will say, ‘Hey, we may not change our vote, but this process was worthy of the institution, and we feel satisfied.’ That means something. The country needs to hear that.”
Jim Geraghty, a correspondent for the conservative National Review, took another approach, calling Flake “a sucker.”
- “Jeff Flake is a sucker. People acting in good faith don’t leak the name of a woman making sexual-assault accusations when she has asked to remain anonymous. People acting in good faith don’t withhold information about accusations as serious as this from their colleagues for two months. People acting in good faith don’t unveil the accusation after the confirmation hearings. People acting in good faith don’t tout the investigative abilities of the FBI for months and then turn around and express doubt that they’ll get the answers once they get that investigation.”
Meanwhile, Adrian Walker of The Boston Globe has some questions for Flake, specifically about the committee hearing and how Flake was swayed to make his decision.
Joel Mathis of The Week wrote that "changing your mind" is a key for a successful democracy.
- “Flake was the only Republican standing between that delay and a likely swift confirmation. In an era where party-line votes are common and expected, Flake allowed himself to be persuaded to take an unexpected stand. And persuasion is the currency of democracy.”