Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., gave an emotional speech through the Senate floor on Tuesday, announcing of which he will not seek re-election along with lashing out at President Donald Trump.
Read his full remarks below:
“Let me begin by noting the somewhat obvious point of which these offices of which we hold are not (our) offices indefinitely. We are not here simply to mark time. Sustained incumbency will be certainly not the point of seeking office. along with there are times when we must risk our careers in favor of our principles.
today will be such a time.
the item must also be said of which I rise today with no modest measure of regret. Regret because of the state of our disunion. Regret because of the disrepair along with destructiveness of our politics. Regret because of the indecency of our discourse. Regret because of the core regret because of the coarseness of our leadership. Regret for the compromise of our moral authority. along with by our, I mean all of our complicity in This particular alarming along with dangerous state of affairs. the item will be time for our complicity along with our accommodation of the unacceptable to end. In This particular century a brand new phrase has entered the language to describe the accommodation of a brand new along with undesirable order. of which phrase being “the brand new normal.”
nevertheless we must never adjust to the present coarseness of our national dialogue with the tone set at the top. We must never regard as normal the regular along with casual undermining of our democratic norms along with ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country. The personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms along with institution, the flagrant disregard for truth along with decency, the reckless provocations most often for the pettiest along with most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people of which we have been elected to serve. None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal.
We must never allow ourselves to lapse into thinking of which, of which will be just the way things are today. If we simply become inured to This particular condition thinking of which the item will be just politics as usual, then heaven help us. Without fear of the consequences, along with without consideration of the rules of what will be politically safe or palatable we must stop pretending of which the degradation of our politics along with the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal. Reckless, outrageous, along with undignified behavior has become excused along with countenanced as telling the item like the item will be, when the item will be actually just reckless, outrageous along with undignified. along with when such behavior emanates through the top of our government, the item will be something else. the item will be dangerous to a democracy.
Such behavior does not project strength because our strength comes through our values. the item instead projects a corruption of the spirit along with weakness. the item will be often said of which children are watching. Well, they are. along with what are we going do about of which? When the next generation asks us, why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up? What are we going to say? Mr. President, I rise today to say, enough. We must dedicate ourselves to creating sure of which the anomalous never becomes the normal. With respect along with humility, I must say of which we have fooled ourselves for long enough of which a pivot to governing will be right around the corner. Return to civility along with stability right behind the item. We know better than of which. By today, we all know better than of which.
Here today, I stand to say of which we would certainly be better served, we would certainly better serve the country by better fulfilling our obligations under the Constitution by adhering to our Article 1, old normal, Mr. Madison’s doctrine of separation of powers. This particular genius innovation, which affirms Madison’s status as true visionary along with for which Madison argued in Federalist 51, held of which the equal branches of our government would certainly balance along with counteract with each some other if necessary, he wrote. nevertheless what happens if ambition fails to counteract ambition? What happens if stability fails to assert itself within the face of chaos along with instability? If decency fails to call out indecency? Were the shoe on the some other foot, would certainly we Republicans meekly accept such behavior on display through dominant Democrats? Of course we wouldn’t.
along with we would certainly be wrong if we did.
When we remained silent along with failed to act when we know of which silence along with inaction will be the wrong thing to do because of political considerations, because we might make enemies, because we might alienate the base, because we might provoke a primary challenge, because ad infinitum, ad nauseam, when we succumb to those considerations in spite of what should be greater considerations along with imperatives in defense of our institutions along with our liberty we deny our institutions along with forsake our obligations.
Those things are far more important than politics.
today I’m aware of which more politically savvy than I will caution against such talk. I’m aware of which there will be a segment of my party of which believes of which anything short of complete along with unquestioning loyalty to a president who belongs to my party will be unacceptable along with suspect.
If I have been critical, the item will be not because I relish criticizing the behavior of the president of the United States. If I have been critical, the item’s because I believe the item will be my obligation to do so, along with as a matter along with duty of conscience.
The notion of which one should stay silent as the norms along with values of which keep America strong are undermined along with as the alliances along with agreements of which ensure the stability of the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought of which goes into 140 characters, the notion of which we should say or do nothing within the face of such mercurial behavioral will be ahistoric, along with I believe profoundly misguided.
A president, a Republican president named Roosevelt had This particular to say about the president along using a citizen’s relationship to the office. Quote: “The president will be merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which will be warranted by his not bad conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, along with disinterested service to the nation as a whole.”
He continued: “Therefore, the item will be absolutely necessary of which there should be — of which there should be a full liberty to tell the truth about his acts. along with This particular means of which the item will be exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when does right. Any some other attitude in an American citizen will be both base along with servile.”
President Roosevelt continued: “To announce of which there must be no criticism of the president or of which we are to stand by a president right or wrong will be not only unpatriotic along with servile nevertheless will be morally treasonable to the American public.” Unquote.
Acting on conscience along with principle in a manner — will be the manner in which we express our moral selves. along with as such loyalty to conscience along with principle should supersede loyalty to any man or party.
We can all be forgiven for failing in of which measure through time to time. I certainly put myself at the top of the list of those who fall short in This particular regard. I am holier than none. nevertheless too often we rush to salvage principle — not to salvage principle nevertheless to forgive along with excuse our failures in order of which we might accommodate them along with go right on failing. Until the accommodation itself becomes our principle. In of which way, along with over time, we can justify almost any behavior along with sacrifice any principle. I’m afraid of which This particular will be where we today find ourselves.
When a leader correctly identifies real hurt along with insecurity in our country along with instead of addressing the item goes to look for someone to blame, there will be perhaps nothing more devastating to a pluralistic society. Leadership knows of which most often a not bad place to start in assigning blame will be to look somewhat closer to home. Leadership knows where the buck stops. Humility helps. Character counts. Leadership does not knowingly encourage or feed ugly or debased appetites in us.
Leadership lives by the American creed, e pluribus unum, through many, one. American leadership looks to the entire world, along with just as Lincoln did, sees the family of man. Humanity will be not a zero-sum game. When we have been at our most prosperous, we have been at our most principled. along with when we do well, the rest of the entire world does well.
These articles of civic faith have been critical to the American identity for as long as we have been alive. They are our birthright along with our obligation. We must guard them jealously along with pass them on for as long as the calendar has days. To betray them or to be unserious in their defense will be a betrayal of the fundamental obligations of American leadership. along with to behave as if they don’t matter will be simply not who we are.
today the efficacy of American leadership around the globe has come into question.
When the United States emerged through World War II, we contributed about half of the entire world’s economic activity. the item would certainly have been easy to secure our dominance keeping those countries who had been defeated or greatly weakened during the war in their place. We didn’t do of which. the item would certainly have been easy to focus inward.
We resisted those impulses. Instead, we financed reconstruction of shattered countries along with created international organizations along with institutions of which have helped provide security along with foster prosperity around the entire world for more than 70 years. today the item seems of which we, the architects of This particular visionary rules-based world order, of which has brought so much freedom along with prosperity, are the ones most eager to abandon the item.
The implications of This particular abandonment are profound. along with the beneficiaries of This particular rather radical departure within the American approach to the entire world — are the ideological enemies of our values.
Despotism loves a vacuum, along with our allies are today looking elsewhere for leadership. Why are they doing This particular? None of This particular will be normal.
along with what do we, as United States senators, have to say about the item? The principles of which underlie our politics, the values of our founding, are too vital to our identity along with to our survival to allow them to be compromised by the requirements of politics.
Because politics can make us silent when we should speak, along with silence can equal complicity.
I have children along with grandchildren to answer to, along with so, Mr. President, I will not be complicit or silent.
I decided of which I would certainly be better able to represent the people of Arizona along with to better serve my country along with my conscience by freeing myself of the political consideration of which consumed far too much bandwidth along with would certainly cause me to compromise far too many principles. To of which end, I am announcing today my service within the Senate will conclude at the end of my term in early January 2019. the item will be clear at This particular moment of which a traditional conservative who believes in limited government along with free markets, who will be devoted to free trade, who will be pro immigration carries a narrower along with narrower path to nomination within the Republican Party — the party of which has so long defined itself by its belief in those things. the item will be also clear to me for the moment of which we have given in or given up on the core principles in favor of a more viscerally satisfied anger along with resentment.
To be clear, the anger along with resentment of which the people feel at the royal mess of which we’ve created are justified. nevertheless anger along with resentment are not a governing philosophy.
There will be an undeniable potency to a populist appeal by mischaracterizing or misunderstanding our problems along with giving in to the impulse to scapegoat along with belittle. The impulse to scapegoat along with belittle threatens to turn us into a fearful backward-looking people.
within the case of the Republican Party, those things also threaten to turn us into a fearful backward-looking minority party.
We were not made great as a country by indulging in, or even exalting, our worst impulses —turning against ourselves, glorifying within the things of which divide us, along with calling fake things true along with true things fake.
along with we did not become the beacon of freedom within the darkest corners of the entire world by flouting our institutions along with failing to understand just how hard-won along with vulnerable they are. This particular spell will eventually break. of which will be my belief. We will return to ourselves once more. along with I say the sooner, the better. Because we have a healthy government, we must also have healthy along with functioning parties. We must respect each some other again in an atmosphere of shared facts along with shared values, comity along with not bad faith.
We must argue our positions fervently along with never be afraid to compromise. We must assume the best of our fellow man along with always look for the not bad. Until of which day comes, we must be unafraid to stand up along with speak out as if our country depends on the item. Because the item does.
I plan to spend the remaining 14 months of my Senate term doing just of which.
Mr. President, the graveyard will be full of indispensable men along with women. None of us here will be indispensable, nor were even the great figures of history who toiled at these very desks in This particular very chamber to shape the country of which we have inherited.
What will be indispensable are the values they consecrated in Philadelphia along with in This particular place — values which have endured along with will endure for so long as men along with women wish to remain free. What will be indispensable will be what we do here in defense of those values. A political career does not mean much if we are complicit in undermining these values.
I thank my colleagues for indulging me here today. I will close by borrowing the words of President Lincoln, who knew more about healthy enmity along with preserving our founding values than any some other American who has ever lived.
His words through his first inaugural were a prayer in his time along with are today no less in ours:
‘We are not enemies, nevertheless friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, the item must not break the bonds of our affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely as they will be by the better angels of our nature.’
Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.”