Charles Blow: There Are No Republican Heroes in Congress - Jeff Flake Included

What happens when quiet political critiques culminate in taking a stand? What is the root — and the implication—of Senator Jeff Flake’s retirement from the Senate? Charles Blow breaks down Flake’s statement and what Trump has meant for Republicans in office in his latest column in the New York Times.


Flake, a Republican from Arizona, spoke on the Senate Floor Tuesday about the state of democracy, duty to serve and the morality of politics. Blow argues that while “it was historic to have a sitting senator attack the sitting president of his own party from the Senate Floor,” what is more noticeable is that Flake, "was also excoriating his fellow elected officials, particularly Republicans, and the Republican Party, which finds itself caught in a perpetual rage spiral, in which no one but extremists are pure enough.”

Blow highlighted several portions of Flake’s speech, including placing responsibility on the Senate for choosing political gain over morals. As Flake said, “I’ve decided that I would be better able to represent the people of Arizona and to better serve my country and my conscience by freeing myself of the political consideration that consumed far too much bandwidth and would cause me to compromise far too many principles.”

Blow acknowledged that congressional Republicans “have chosen career over country and have subordinated principle to party and power,” writing that he is “growing increasingly angry with Republican lawmakers expressing grave concerns about Trump in private and on background, but biting their tongues in public.”

Arguing that Republican leaders who are standing up to Trump are not running for re-election or currently holding office, like Flake and George W. Bush, Blow poses a key question:

“Where are the real heroes, those with skin in the game and planning to keep it there? Where is the true courage? Well, not in the Republican Party. Political heroism and displays of principled valor have been banished from its ranks. In their stead stand the craven and the corrupt.”

Flake will not run for re-election and will serve until January 2019. While the fight over Flake’s Senate seat begins, Blow is keeping an eye on the GOP and its shifting ideology.

Read the full column.

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