Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is so concerned about the state of the Republican Party that he wrote a secret book about it. Not even his own staff knew about it until recently, NPR reports. In the now not-so-secret pages of Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle, Flake reveals his concerns about conservatives losing their principles.
"I'm very troubled about where the Republican Party is now. It seems that we've been compromised, but this time by different forces — those of populism and protectionism, isolationism, xenophobia and I'm concerned about how we remain a governing party with those principles," he says.
The era of limited government ended during the second Bush administration, Flake regretted. Then, with the rise of Trump came a change in demeanor. All this can account for how the GOP has become a much "coarser" party, he said.
Flake, who has never been one of President Trump's biggest fans, criticized conservatives for not being brave enough to call him out - especially when it comes to his tweeting.
"I think that you know, obviously the last thing you want to do is wake up every morning and see a tweet and think, 'I just - you know, it's tough not to just say, 'I'm not going to respond.' And we can't respond to everything. But there are times when you have to stand up and say, 'I'm sorry. This is wrong.'"
It's unclear which tweets exactly he's referring to, but Trump has received flak from at least some Republican lawmakers recently for publicly berating his Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Yet, the senator said Trump's "lack of principle" is not solely to blame for the current embattled state of the party.
The GOP is indeed in a state of flux after failing to pass legislation that would repeal and replace Obamacare. Things were looking up last week when the party managed to pass a motion to proceed to a debate on the bill. Yet, when it came time to vote on the actual legislation, they just didn't have the votes. The Republicans failed to pass both a clean repeal bill and a repeal and replace bill, thus breaking a seven-year-old promise.