Flake tells GOP: Trump 'does not deserve reelection'

Former Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism Kelly holds double-digit lead over McSally in Arizona: poll Trump asserts his power over Republicans MORE (R-Ariz.) is urging Republican lawmakers to not support President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE’s 2020 reelection campaign amid an impeachment inquiry fueled by Trump’s actions toward Ukraine.

Flake, in a Washington Post op-ed, warned that regardless of the outcome of the impeachment fight, 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 added. ADVERTISEMENTFlake, a vocal Trump critic who retired from the Senate in January, acknowledged that opposing Trump’s 2020 bid would likely have political consequences. Flake, had he decided to run for reelection in 2018, was expected to have faced a tough primary challenge from the right. 

“My fellow Republicans, it is time to risk your careers in favor of your principles. Whether you believe the president deserves impeachment, you know he does not deserve reelection,” Flake added in the Post op-ed. 

“Trust me when I say that you can go elsewhere for a job. But you cannot go elsewhere for a soul,” Flake continued.  A few GOP senators have held back from endorsing Trump’s reelection bid. Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsRepublicans prepare to punt on next COVID-19 relief bill Trump tweets spark fresh headache for Republicans Trump’s tweet on protester sparks GOP backlash  MORE (R-Maine), who is up for reelection, said earlier this year that she was “not prepared at this point to make that decision.” Sen Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMilley discussed resigning from post after Trump photo-op: report Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names Attorney says 75-year-old man shoved by Buffalo police suffered brain injury MORE (R-Utah) told CNN earlier this month that he was “not planning on endorsing in the presidential race.”  But Flake’s op-ed comes amid a growing fight over impeachment in the wake of a whistleblower complaint tied to Trump’s actions toward Ukraine.  The White House also released a partial transcript of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In the call, according to the document, Trump asked Zelensky to work with his personal attorney, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiSunday shows preview: Protests against George Floyd’s death, police brutality rock the nation for a second week Piers Morgan, Rudy Giuliani in furious debate over Trump: ‘You sound completely barking mad’ Rudy Giuliani calls on Cuomo to remove Bill de Blasio MORE, and expressed hope that he “can look into” former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE. Flake, in the Monday op-ed, said impeachment “now seems inevitable” and that “with what we now know, the president’s actions warrant impeachment.” “Although Article II, Section 4 is clear about remedies for abuse of office, I have grave reservations about impeachment. I fear that, given the profound division in the country, an impeachment proceeding at such a toxic moment might actually benefit a president who thrives on chaos. Disunion is the oxygen of this presidency,” Flake added. Congressional Republicans have largely rallied behind Trump in the wake of House Democrats’ decision to start a formal impeachment inquiry. But there are some signs of cracks days into the scandal, with several Republicans signaling they have concerns about Trump’s tactics.  Flake has repeatedly tried to push Republicans to take a firmer stance in pushing back on Trump’s actions. The stance made him a frequent target for Trump, whom he clashed with frequently over issues like immigration and former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN’s Toobin warns McCabe is in ‘perilous condition’ with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill’s 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE. 

“At this point, the president’s conduct in office should not surprise us. But truly devastating has been our tolerance of that conduct. Our embrace of it,” Flake said. “We have failed each other, and we have failed ourselves. Let us stop failing now, while there is still time.” 

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