Former Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) delivered a stark warning to his former colleagues on Friday that they must do the right thing for the country and take President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial seriously because they’ll be judged by the American people.
The full House voted to impeach Trump earlier this week, making him just the third president to have such a dubious distinction. But Senate Republicans are not taking the impending trial seriously as they plot to rig the proceedings in Trump’s favor despite the damning evidence and witness testimony showing that Trump tried to bribe a foreign nation into interfering with the 2020 Election for his benefit.
As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) delays sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate until a fair trial is guaranteed, Flake wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post warning his former colleagues that the eyes of history are upon them, and so are the eyes of the American people, who will judge their fitness to serve ahead of the election in November. Flake wrote:
“I don’t envy you. It might not be fair, but none of the successes, achievements and triumphs you’ve had in public office — whatever bills you’ve passed, hearings you’ve chaired, constituents you have had the privilege of helping — will matter more than your actions in the coming months.”
“President Trump is on trial. But in a very real sense, so are you. And so is the political party to which we belong.”
Flake pointed out that listening to House Republicans’ garbage claims that Trump did nothing wrong would be a huge mistake.
“Regarding the articles of impeachment, you could reasonably conclude that the president’s actions warrant his removal. You might also determine that the president’s actions do not rise to the constitutional standard required for removal. There is no small amount of moral hazard with each option… But what is indefensible is echoing House Republicans who say that the president has not done anything wrong. He has.”
If Senate Republicans, especially those facing tough re-election campaigns, vote to acquit Trump they will face serious consequences. And that’s why Flake urged them to put country before party:
“The willingness of House Republicans to bend to the president’s will by attempting to shift blame with the promotion of bizarre and debunked conspiracy theories has been an appalling spectacle. It will have long-term ramifications for the country and the party, to say nothing of individual reputations. If there ever was a time to put country over party, it is now. And by putting country over party, you might just save the Grand Old Party before it’s too late.”
Unfortunately, Senate Republicans would have to have a spine to actually perform their duty in service to the country and Constitution instead of being a toady for Trump. Will they grow one in time to heed Flake’s warning?
Featured Image by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons CC-by-2.0