Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona wrote that his party is in “denial” about President Donald Trump in a column in Politico on Monday.
Flake, who is up for reelection in 2018 and is one of the more vulnerable GOP senators in the upcoming election, held little back in the Politico op-ed, describing an executive branch “in chaos” and a president who has “seeming affection for strongmen and authoritarians.”
The Arizona Republican also took issue with his party’s mission while President Barack Obama was in office.
“Who could blame the people who felt abandoned and ignored by the major parties for reaching in despair for a candidate who offered oversimplified answers to infinitely complex questions and managed to entertain them in the process,” he wrote. “With hindsight, it is clear that we all but ensured the rise of Donald Trump.”
“I will let the liberals answer for their own sins in this regard. (There are many.) But we conservatives mocked Barack Obama’s failure to deliver on his pledge to change the tone in Washington even as we worked to assist with that failure,” he continued. “It was we conservatives who, upon Obama’s election, stated that our number-one priority was not advancing a conservative policy agenda but making Obama a one-term president — the corollary to this binary thinking being that his failure would be our success and the fortunes of the citizenry would presumably be sorted out in the meantime.”
He said conservatives were “largely silent when the most egregious and sustained attacks on Obama’s legitimacy were leveled by marginal figures who would later be embraced and legitimized by far too many of us.”