In the wake of President Trump's self-incriminating memo which showed him soliciting a foreign government to interfere in our election process, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi opened a formal impeachment inquiry which many suspect will lead to the President facing trial in the Senate.
While it's always been a forgone conclusion that Senate Republicans would fail to convict President Trump regardless of what the House uncovers, now that a vote for impeachment is actually on the table, cracks in the reliably-partisan facade of the GOP have started to show.
Former Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, who decided not to seek office in 2018 after it became clear he would lose the Republican primary to a more pro-Trump politician, recently published an op-ed in The Washington Post urging his fellow Congressmen to refrain from supporting the President.
"But I already had seen too much. Traveling overseas, I witnessed the damage being done to our standing in the world as a result of President Trump's fondness for authoritarians and his scorn for allies. His hostility toward security alliances and trade agreements had placed our long-term security and our economy at risk."
"His adoption of the tyrant's phrase 'enemy of the people' put journalists in even greater peril, all over the world. His resentment toward refugees and profane description of certain countries were destroying generations of goodwill."
Now, it's clearer to Flake than ever that something needs to be done.
"We have learned from a whistleblower that the president has abused the power of his office to pressure a foreign government to go after a political opponent. A rough transcript of the telephone call has removed all ambiguity about the president's intent."
"In light of these revelations, the House of Representatives has launched an impeachment inquiry and will likely be forwarding to the Senate at least one article of impeachment."
Even if the Senate fails to convict the President, Flake believes this should be Donald Trump's last term of office.
"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."
Flake left congressional Republicans with an ominous goodbye.
"Our country will have more presidents. But principles, well, we get just one crack at those. 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, do just that."
"Trust me when I say you can go elsewhere for a job. But you cannot go elsewhere for a soul."
Whether or not you believe the President's actions and behavior warrant impeachment, you cannot believe that his ac… https://t.co/2qe1jNN3JE— Jeff Flake (@Jeff Flake)1569856532.0
Some people online thought Flake's message of human decency spoke to the Republican party people wished would return.
This from @JeffFlake is pretty powerful. https://t.co/GTdS7YEyvE https://t.co/8TrsRkenmy— Molly Jong-Fast (@Molly Jong-Fast)1569850393.0
@JeffFlake Thank you sir for having integrity.— Cheryl (@Cheryl)1569876395.0
@JeffFlake Thank you, sir.— MemphisMamaBear (@MemphisMamaBear)1569857113.0
Others couldn't help but notice how Flake chose to speak out until he was safe in a job with absolutely no impact on or from Trump.
Jeff Flake takes a stand! After retiring from the Senate and taking a job at CBS https://t.co/C26Z3zC2t8— h. jon benjamin (@h. jon benjamin)1569865441.0
You know when would have been a good time for Jeff Flake to speak out against Trump? When he was in office and cou… https://t.co/pEsGpa2Qx0— Tea Pain (@Tea Pain)1569854784.0
In fact, as valid as Flake's message may have been, it ultimately seemed to fall on deaf ears between the conservatives who didn't like his bad-mouthing the President and liberals who still haven't forgiven him for voting in lockstep with Trump despite repeated "moral reservations."
Hey Jeff Flake! You voted to give a stolen SCOTUS seat to Gorsuch, voted for a trickle-down tax cut for the rich th… https://t.co/F6SHjXb8OU— John Fugelsang (@John Fugelsang)1569858913.0
Jeff Flake didn’t “speak out.” He sat atop a fire hydrant, hose in hand, and watched a building burn down while lam… https://t.co/PGLAaHtj4u— Sam Sykes (@Sam Sykes)1569875564.0
@washingtonpost Nope. Way too late and to be honest flake shouldn’t talk since he still voted for everything trump… https://t.co/O7b2OY4y9F— alison 🏳️🌈 (@alison 🏳️🌈)1569850435.0
@washingtonpost Jeff Flake owns this. He sold out to Trump when he had the chance to stand up to him. #WhateverFlake— Teacher Lady (@Teacher Lady)1569850229.0
@washingtonpost A better headline might be: “Washington Post chooses to reward national coward who fled to lucrativ… https://t.co/bRiCL81wGA— Sam Sykes (@Sam Sykes)1569863881.0
Some Twitter users were surprised to be hearing from Flake at all.
@RyanLizza My God, the dead have arisen.— U.N. Owen (@U.N. Owen)1569851252.0
Whether or not Flake was the right man to deliver this message, his words will surely ring true for many Senate Republicans.
How will history remember those who chose to ignore Trump's crimes for their own political gain?
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