Former Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who broke from his party over its allegiance to former President Donald Trump, has urged the GOP to move on from him in the wake of a highly publicized impeachment trial that ended with the former president being acquitted despite inciting an insurrection against Congress.
“My fellow Republicans, to make our way back from this four-year detour will require a dose of honest self-reflection. We were once the conservative party. Our party chose to vacate any claim to that mantle when we gave ourselves over to a reality TV figure whose commitment to anything other than his own self-interest has always been hard to discern,” Flake wrote in an op-ed for CNN. “He cared so little about anyone or anything other than himself that we now know that he couldn’t even be stirred to defend his own Vice President when his life was in danger.”
“We didn’t convict him. We should have, but we didn’t. Let’s not compound the grievous injury to the country and our party by continuing to embrace him, for Trumpism is the opposite of conservatism. We all know that, too. There is nothing to gain by making a pilgrimage to Florida. There is no enlightened mystic at Mar-a-Lago — just a diminished man who lost an election and couldn’t accept it,” he added.
“There is no redeeming his behavior. And let’s not continue this tragic charade by further humiliating and debasing ourselves,” he concludes. “History always knows the truth. Let’s learn the lessons of this experience, admit our failings and move on. This is what our country deserves.”
Flake was a vocal critic of Trump since the beginning and Trump attacked him in December after Flake denounced the former president’s refusal to accept the results of an election that President Joe Biden won decisively.
“There is long-term damage when this kind of behavior is normalized. It is not normal, and elected Republicans need to speak out against it,” Flake wrote.
Trump soon responded. “…And it’s not normal when a sitting Senator is forced to retire because his Arizona poll numbers were so low that he would have come out dead last in the Republican Primary, and had zero chance of winning the general election,” he wrote via his now-defunct Twitter account.
Yesterday, Flake told reporters that he has been in contact with the Biden administration but said there had been “no specific talks” about considering him for an ambassadorship.
All I’ve said is I would have an interest in making sure that President (Joe) Biden’s foreign policy is bipartisan,” Flake said. “You know, we used to say that partisanship stops at the water’s edge. That needs to happen, and I think it can happen. But there’s been no specific talks.”