It has always been my experience that Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is all talk and no action. He has received undeserved credit for his speeches warning against the crypto-fascism of Trumpism, because he fails to take any concrete actions to actually do anything to stop it. He consistently votes with Trumpkin positions out of GOP tribalism.
Senator Flake has been completely ineffectual as a senator, in my opinion.
Nevertheless, if Senator Flake is ready for his “Profiles in Courage” moment, he is now in a position to demonstrate true courage, and that actions speak louder than words in the waning days of his Senate career by saving America from the crypto-fascist Trumpism that he decries.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) confirmed Tuesday that he plans to block President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees until Senate Republican leaders allow a vote on legislation aimed at restricting the president’s authority to impose tariffs. Jeff Flake: I Will Block Trump Judicial Nominees Until GOP Votes on Tariffs.
Tariffs?! That’s what gets your panties in a bunch? How about the good of the country and the preservation of our constitutional democracy? Big picture, senator.
“We need to vote on tariffs,” Flake told The Daily Beast. “I’m committed to getting a vote on tariffs. That’s all I’ll say.”
Flake sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over the president’s judicial nominees. But Republicans only have an 11 to 10 majority on that panel, meaning that if Flake votes with Democrats to block nominations, the Senate’s calendar would essentially grind to a halt. It would also present a political headache for Senate GOP leaders, who have touted the record pace of judicial confirmations under Trump.
“I do think that unless we can actually exercise something other than just approving the president’s executive calendar, his nominees, judges, that we have no reason to be there,” Flake said Sunday on ABC’s This Week, previewing his ultimate decision to vote with Democrats in preventing judicial nominees from receiving a vote on the Senate floor.
The Arizona senator, like many of his GOP colleagues, has long opposed the president’s trade policies, including his recent decisions to impose tariffs on U.S. allies.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) [also retiring] drafted a bipartisan bill that would restrict Trump’s ability to impose some tariffs. It would require congressional approval for any tariffs designated under the president’s national security authority. But Republican leaders on both sides of the Capitol have balked at the legislation in part because they say they are wary of picking a fight with Trump ahead of the midterm elections.
Republican senators emerging from their weekly policy lunch on Tuesday indicated that lawmakers were discussing whether to attach Corker’s bill as an amendment to the farm bill, which the Senate is voting on this week.
“We’re trying to work things out on a tariff vote, whether it’s on the farm bill or something else,” Flake said. “There are some people who feel strongly not to have it on the farm bill, think[ing] it might endanger the farm bill.”
Then came Justice Anthony Kennedy’s announced retirement from the Supreme Court yesterday. New calculation senator: it’s easy for you to posture on tariffs, but now what are you going to do about a Supreme Court Justice?
I am not optimistic. Senator Flake is his usual wishy-washy self. He enjoys the public attention he receives, but he never actually does anything. Senator Flake issued this statement after Justice Kennedy’s retirement announcement:
As I have said before, approving a principled conservative who will interpret the Constitution rather than legislate from the bench should be our top priority. As we turn toward filling this seat, I look forward to the Senate fulfilling its responsibility of providing advice and consent during a robust confirmation process.”
Doesn’t sound like a “principled conservative” who is ready to make a principled stand in a “Profiles in Courage” moment, does it? Sounds more like another cowardly Republican who will cave under the pressure of GOP tribalism, his oath of office to defend the Constitution be damned.
If Flake was actually going to do anything, this would have been the time to declare his intentions to make a stand that “no further judicial nominees will be approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee for the remainder of this Congress.”
Every Arizonan, and every American, should bring great pressure to bear on Senator Jeff Flake to follow through on his threat to hold up Trump’s judicial nominees, not for tariffs, but for the good of the country and the preservation of our constitutional democracy.
Finally demonstrate that you possess true courage, Senator, at this critical moment in American history, or be condemned by history as the man who could have saved America but failed to act.
UPDATE: History will condemn you, senator, as the man who could have saved America but failed to act.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said Wednesday that he would not hold up President Donald Trump’s nominee to fill retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat as leverage in his push to get a vote on the President’s tariffs.
“There are lots of folks out there who assume because I’ve not been in line with lots of the President’s policies, and certainly haven’t condoned his behavior, that I should oppose everything, every one of the President’s nominees or whatever,” Flake told the Arizona Republic. “I’ve never taken that position.”
“I certainly wasn’t anticipating a Supreme Court vacancy, but it’s unaffected,” he added.
Folded like a cheap suit. Party before country, just like every other Republican.