Donald Trump Compared To Joseph McCarthy As Republican Party Spat Deepens
Republican Senator Jeff Flake has compared Donald Trump’s behaviour to that of 1950s demagogue Joseph McCarthy, saying “you can’t continue to just remain silent” about the US leader’s politics.
The Arizona senator made the rounds of morning television news shows to talk about his decision not to run for re-election in 2018 and his impassioned speech on the Senate floor yesterday, in which he said he could no longer be “complicit” with the Republican President.
“There is a tipping point … I hope we’re reaching that tipping point,” Senator Flake told NBC’s Today program.
Senator Flake cited the era of McCarthy, the Republican Wisconsin senator whose smear tactics alleging Communist infiltration ultimately led to his censure.
In an opinion column in The Washington Post, Senator Flake quoted Joseph Welch, an Army lawyer, who stood up to McCarthy in a June 1954 hearing and demanded: “Have you no sense of decency, Sir?”.
“The moral power of Welch’s words ended McCarthy’s rampage on American values, and effectively his career as well,” he wrote.
“We face just such a time now. We have again forgotten who we are supposed to be.”
Senator Flake also said he thinks more of his Republican colleagues will speak out, he told the American ABC’s Good Morning America program.
In an interview with MSNBC, Senator Flake said: “We are excusing undignified and outrageous and reckless speech and behaviour as ‘telling it like it is’ … That’s not right.”
Mr Trump immediately fired back at Senator Flake and fellow retiring Senate Republican Bob Corker on Twitter, saying the two weren’t running for re-election because “they had zero chance of being elected”.
Mr Corker had previously labelled Mr Trump “untruthful” and accused him of debasing the nation.
Mr Trump also contended that Senators Flake and Corker stand alone, boasting in several tweets that he had gotten standing ovations at a Senate Republicans’ luncheon on Tuesday at the Capitol.
Asked why others in his party haven’t yet done so, Senator Flake said “fatigue” was to blame.
He stopped short of saying Mr Trump should be declared unfit for office or impeached.
“The voters made their choice,” Senator Flake said. “He was elected fair and square.”