Former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) has been a frequent but usually quiet critic of President Donald Trump but in a recent interview, he made one of his largest criticisms yet — telling The Washington Post that he will not vote for Trump this November.
Asked by the Post if he thinks it is better for the Republican Party if Trump is defeated in November, Flake was blunt, that a “sound defeat” would be “long term for the Republican Party, you bet. And for conservatism as well.”
Flake added, that he will vote against Trump, saying, “This won’t be the first time I’ve voted for a Democrat — though not for president before. Last time I voted for a third-party candidate. But I will not vote for Donald Trump.”
Trump has taken a number of shots at Flake, who he calls “Jeff Flake(y).”
Jeff Flake(y) doesn’t want to protect the Non-Senate confirmed Special Counsel, he wants to protect his future after being unelectable in Arizona for the “crime” of doing a terrible job! A weak and ineffective guy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2018
The former Arizona lawmaker served only one term in Congress. He announced that he would not run for re-election in 2018.
In a fiery speech on the Senate floor in October of 2017, Flake said, “If I have been critical, it is not because I relish criticizing the behavior of the president of the United States. If I have been critical, it is because I believe that it is my obligation to do so, as a matter of duty and conscience.”
Flake, who was known in Washington as an admirer of the older, more genteel Senate added in that speech, “What is indispensable are the values that they consecrated in Philadelphia and in this place, values which have endured and will endure for so long as men and women wish to remain free … A political career doesn’t mean much if we are complicit in undermining those values.”
Though he bemoaned the state of politics, he defended his friend and Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) partisanship in the interview with the Post, saying “Lindsey never goes too far one way without the ability to come back. I love Lindsey. And I frankly think he will be back — and will be better for it.”