Former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on Monday urged Republicans to “save your souls” by pulling support for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign as the House Democrats move forward with an impeachment inquiry.
In the Washington Post, Flake writes the GOP should “obviously” not back the president in 2020, regardless of the impeachment inquiry’s outcome.
Flake, an outspoken Trump critic who resigned from Congress, admitted that opposing President Trump comes with negative political ramifications — which he succumbed to himself. The Arizona Republican, had he ran for re-election, would have faced a daunting primary fight against a more conservative challenger.
“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 wrote in his op-ed. “Trust me when I say that you can go elsewhere for a job. But you cannot go elsewhere for a soul.”
Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have seemingly already heeded Flake’s advice. Speaking to CNN earlier this month, Romney, another staunch Trump critic, said he was “not planning on endorsing in the presidential race.”
Flake’s emergence comes as the White House is gearing up to battle a Democratic impeachment probe sparked by a partisan CIA officer that alleged — based on second-hand information — that President Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into the business activities of Hunter Biden, the beleaguered son of former Vice President and 2020 White House contender Joe Biden. Last week, Zelensky dismissed the claims, telling reporters at the United Nations: “We had I think good phone call. It was normal. We spoke about many things, and I — so I think and you read it that nobody pushed me.” Last week, in a nod to transparency, the White House released a transcript of the Trump-Zelensky call to show no wrongdoing occurred during the leaders’ conversation.
However, according to Flake, impeachment “now seems inevitable,” and “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,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, high-profile Republicans — including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Jim Jordan (D-OH) — have mounted a vigorous defense of President Trump’s call with Zelensky and say that both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) impeachment probe is a grave political miscalculation and the so-called “whistleblower” is nothing more than a disgruntled anti-Trumper that is out to hurt the administration.
“The left has officially lost their minds — they are so fixated on their imaginary impeachment that they are getting nothing else done,” McCarthy (R-CA) told Breitbart News last week. “266 days in power and what have Nancy Pelosi and the Socialist Democrats accomplished? Absolutely nothing.”
“America is too great to be led by a vision so small — I’m 100 percent confident Democrats obsession with impeachment will backfire on them in 2020,” he added.
“A bureaucrat who didn’t like the president files a claim saying the president did something wrong in a call. This guy wasn’t on the call, somebody else told him about the call, so the White House does something they’ve never done before, they released the transcript, but the Democrats say we don’t care we’re going to move towards impeachment,” Jordan said of the partisan CIA officer in a heated Sunday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
“You know why we know that because Nancy Pelosi did a press conference the day before and said she was going to move towards impeachment, the day before we even saw the transcript. It shows these folks with bound and determined to go after this president no matter what. They put the country through three years of this false Russian Trump collusion issue all the way through,” he added.