Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, announced Tuesday he would not run for re-election in 2018, condemning in a speech aimed at President Donald Trump the "flagrant disregard of truth and decency" that is undermining American democracy.
"The anger and resentment people feel...is justified", Flake said.
The purge of "establishment" Republicans like Senator Corker and Senator Flake only helps the remaking of the GOP as a populist, nationalist party drawing the support of the white working class away from the Democrats.
Flake is by no means the lone Republican in Congress willing to break with the president.
At midafternoon, as fellow lawmakers sat in attentive silence, Flake stood at his Senate desk and delivered an emotional speech in which he dissected what he considered his party's accommodations with Trump and said he could no longer play a role in them. "Now is such a time", Flake said. We will return to ourselves once more. Most notably, he joined Democrats and Republicans on legislation aimed at finding a path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally. He made a decision to run for Senate in 2012 and defeated three Republican challengers in the primary and narrowly prevailed in the general election (49.2 percent to 46.2 percent).
Mr Flake was one of two Republican senators who launched fierce attacks against the President, with Bob Corker, who has also said previously he is not running for re-election, earlier calling Mr Trump a liar who has damaged the country's standing in the world.
"It would require me to believe in positions I don't hold on such issues as trade and immigration and it would require me to condone behavior that I can not condone". And while they tip a hat to Mr Flake, they seem unlikely to follow his words of warning on Tuesday.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey also released a statement where he called Flake a trailblazer.
"It's no secret that there's a lot of divisions within the Republican party right now".
"It's counterproductive when Republicans are battling amongst themselves", said Sen.
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"Populism, nationalism, global isolation ... these are not traditional Republican principles". According to Senate GOP sources, possible candidates could include Reps. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell turned to watch Flake on the floor. Days later, George W Bush condemned bigotry while declaring American politics "more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication".
John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, told reporters.
Corker had earlier said Trump's hostile rhetoric on North Korea and others could lead to World War III and suggested the president leave foreign policy "to the professionals".
In a separate interview with CNN, Corker went even further, stating of the president: "I don't know why he lowers himself to such a low, low standard and debases our country in that way but he does".
His retirement is a double-edged sword for Trump's White House: It opens the door for Flake to be replaced with a more supportive Republican.
Bannon's Breitbart News, where he returned as chairman after leaving the White House in August, was clearly celebrating too.
Flake's decision puts an additional layer of stress on the Republican Party for the 2018 midterm elections. Sen.
During an emotional speech on the Senate floor, Flake assailed Trump.
"We must stop pretending that the degradation of politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal".
"We are not enemies, but friends".