Republican Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s dramatic announcement that he will not seek re-election in 2018 — a Senate-floor speech filled with shots at President Trump — has set off rampant speculation about what his decision means for his party.
“I’m announcing today that my service in the Senate will conclude at the end of my term in early January 2019,” said Flake, one of President Trump’s most vocal Republican critics. “It is clear at this moment that a traditional conservative, who believes in limited government and free markets, devoted to free trade, pro-immigration, has a narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican party.”
Flake has been saddled with low poll numbers and faced a nasty primary challenger in the form of osteopathic physician Kelli Ward.
Flake’s announcement included pointed criticisms of Trump.
“We must never regard as ‘normal’ the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals,” said Flake. “We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country — the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions; the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve.”
Some on Twitter, especially, those who lean left, rejoiced, and said other politicians of conscience should follow his lead. But Trump supporters hoped he would hurry on his way out. Here are some tweets:
– ROSIE (@Rosie) October 24, 2017
Footage from Senate Leadership Fund board meeting following news that Jeff Flake is dropping out of senate race > > pic.twitter.com/JFA6TVD9xG
– Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) October 24, 2017
Flake shows that view of Trump is a true character test for every Republican. Short-term win for Trump but sets up wipe out in ’18.
– Jonathan Alter (@jonathanalter) October 24, 2017
Flake and Pence were very good friends — I wonder what the status of that friendship is now
– Matthew Nussbaum (@MatthewNussbaum) October 24, 2017
A party favoring fearmongers and demagogues over men like Flake, Corker & McCain is no home for true conservatives and cannot lead America.
– Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) October 24, 2017
Remember when the “experts” said @kelliwardaz had no chance at winning?
Bye, Jeff Flake!
– Mike Cernovich ???????? (@Cernovich) October 24, 2017
– Kyrsten Sinema (@kyrstensinema) October 24, 2017
THE critical difference between Flake & Corker today: Corker doesn’t care if other Senators join him. Flake says conscience DEMANDS they do
– Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) October 24, 2017