Sep 30, 2019

Jeff Flake tells GOP not to back Trump in 2020: "You cannot go elsewhere for a soul"

Former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake penned a Washington Post op-ed Monday, telling fellow Republicans that "it is time to risk your careers in favor of your principles" and calling upon them not to support President Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

"Our country will have more presidents. But principles, well, we get just one crack at those. For those who want to put America first, it is critically important at this moment in the life of our country that we all, here and now, do just that. Trust me when I say that you can go elsewhere for a job. But you cannot go elsewhere for a soul."

The big picture: Flake was a vocal critic of the Trump administration during his time in the Senate and ultimately decided to retire in 2018 rather than seek re-election to a second term "at the cost of supporting this man."

  • Flake said that not supporting Trump should be an "easy decision" for Republicans, but added that he believes impeachment is a tougher question.
  • He said Trump's actions "warrant impeachment," but noted that "an impeachment proceeding at such a toxic moment might actually benefit a president who thrives on chaos."
  • "So although impeachment now seems inevitable, I fear it all the same. I understand others who might have similar reservations. The decision to impeach or not is a difficult one indeed."

Go deeper: Trump accuses Adam Schiff of treason, suggests arrest

Go deeper

All 2020 Democrats want to impeach Trump

Julián Castro, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden. Photos: Getty Images

All major 2020 Democratic candidates have joined the call to launch an impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

Driving the news: Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Sept. 24 that the House will open a formal impeachment inquiry into the president.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 9, 2019

Scoop: Trump's private concerns of an impeachment legacy

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump has told friends and allies he worries about the stain impeachment will leave on his legacy.

Driving the news: In a phone call with House Republicans on Friday, Trump articulated why he really doesn't want this. Impeachment, Trump said, is a "bad thing to have on your resume," according to a source on the call. Two other sources on the call confirmed the substance of the comment, but one said they recalled Trump phrasing it as "you don't want it [impeachment] on your resume."

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 7, 2019

Impeached and re-elected

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

It’s looking more likely by the day that President Trump will be impeached by the House for his dealings with Ukraine. But if he is acquitted by the Senate — and then goes on to win a second term — Democrats will face a predicament neither party has confronted in U.S. history.

Why it matters: If Trump survives politically and is re-elected to serve another four years, Congress likely would have nowhere left to go in the event of another scandal, legal and political experts say — not because the House couldn’t impeach him again, but because it might be politically impossible to do so.

Go deeperArrowOct 10, 2019