U.S. Senator Flake sees more Republicans denouncing Trump

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 25, 2017 11:29 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Jeff Flake said on Wednesday he expected more Republican colleagues to speak out against Donald Trump's alarming behavior as well as his policies, one day after a speech denouncing the Republican president.

Flake, one of Trump's most outspoken critics, said the president has engaged in "reckless, outrageous and undignified" behavior, and has trafficked in resentment in a speech on Tuesday on the Senate floor. Flake announced he will not seek re-election when his term ends in 2018.

"Privately a number of my colleagues have expressed concern about the direction of our politics and the behavior of the president," Flake said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.

"I think the cumulative weight of all of this, there comes a tipping point where you realize we just can't continue to normalize this kind of behavior, so I do think we'll have more people stand up in the coming months," he added.

Trump was skeptical of getting more criticism from congressional Republicans, saying in a Twitter post on Wednesday that a lunch with Senate Republicans the day earlier was a "love fest."

In the tweet, the president said: "Jeff Flake, with an 18% approval rating in Arizona, said 'a lot of my colleagues have spoken out.' Really, they just gave me a standing (ovation)!"

Despite control of the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Republicans have yet to deliver any major legislative victories on priorities like tax reform, healthcare and immigration.

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Republican Senators John McCain and Bob Corker have also spoken out sharply against Trump. Corker is also not seeking re-election, while McCain is fighting brain cancer.

But most Republicans in Congress have remained silent as the president has attacked politicians from his party and threatened North Korea and the media on Twitter.

(Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)