In a surprise reveal on Tuesday, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake announced that he will not seek reelection in 2018, becoming the second Republican in the upper chamber to forgo a campaign next year. Like Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, who made a similar announcement last month, Flake has been a vocal critic of the Trump administration. And like Corker, Flake seems poised to use his newfound freedom to warn of the threat he believes the president poses to his party and to the country.
Here, a full transcript of the senator’s remarks.
Mr. President, I rise today to address a matter that has been very much on my mind, at a moment when it seems that our democracy is more defined by our discord and our dysfunction than by our own values and our principles. Let me begin by noting a somewhat obvious point that these offices that we hold are not ours indefinitely. We are not here simply to mark time. Sustained incumbency is certainly not the point of seeking office. And there are times when we must risk our careers in favor of our principles.
Now is such a time.
It must also be said that I rise today with no small measure of regret. Regret, because of the state of our disunion, regret because of the disrepair and destructiveness of our politics, regret because of the indecency of our discourse, regret because of the coarseness of our leadership, regret for the compromise of our moral authority, and by our—all of our—complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs. It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.