Senator Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, has published an excerpt of his forthcoming book, The Conscience of a Conservative, in Politico. The title is an echo of Barry Goldwater’s famous tome. The excerpt argues that congressional Republicans are in denial about President Trump.
He urges them to do something.
“There simply are not that many people who are in a position to do something about an executive branch in chaos,” Flake wrote. “As the first branch of government (Article I), the Congress was designed expressly to assert itself at just such moments. It is what we talk about when we talk about ‘checks and balances.’ Too often, we observe the unfolding drama along with the rest of the country, passively, all but saying, ‘Someone should do something!’ without seeming to realize that that someone is us. And so, that unnerving silence in the face of an erratic executive branch is an abdication, and those in positions of leadership bear particular responsibility.”
Flake, who offered similar thoughts to my colleague McKay Coppins in the new issue of The Atlantic, is hardly the first to acknowledge that an unfit captain is steering the ship of state, and that all the people and property on board are needlessly endangered.
Peter Wehner, who served Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush, told a TV audience last week, “The problem at its core is Donald Trump and it is at its core that he is a person who thrives on chaos and manages with chaos, but it’s really deeper than that … it is a psychological and emotional affliction; he has a disoriented and disordered mind, and there is no controlling or containing that … This chaos is unlike anything that we’ve ever seen, and they haven’t faced a genuine crisis yet. Can you imagine if you had a 9-11 type situation, or a financial meltdown, or a military collision happen with this crew and with this commander-in-chief?”