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Ex-Sen. Jeff Flake calls for Republican Party to leave Trump: 'We should have' convicted him

The Hill logo The Hill 2/15/2021 John Bowden
Jeff Flake wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: Ex-Sen. Jeff Flake calls for Republican Party to leave Trump: 'We should have' convicted him © Stefani Reynolds Ex-Sen. Jeff Flake calls for Republican Party to leave Trump: 'We should have' convicted him

Former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) condemned the Senate's acquittal of former President Trump in an op-ed published Monday, calling the vote the final "normalization" of a president who should never be considered normal.

In the op-ed published on CNN.com, the Arizona Republican wrote that his own party should have voted to convict Trump and bar him from running for federal office, writing: "We didn't convict him. We should have, but we didn't."

"Let's not compound the grievous injury to the country and our party by continuing to embrace him, for Trumpism is the opposite of conservatism. We all know that, too. There is nothing to gain by making a pilgrimage to Florida," Flake continued, apparently referring to the recent visit by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). "There is no enlightened mystic at Mar-a-Lago - just a diminished man who lost an election and couldn't accept it."

Flake continued, adding that "the vote to acquit [Trump] is the final act in the normalization of a President whose behavior was not normal, can never be acceptable, and culminated in a monstrous assault on American democracy."

Flake has long criticized the GOP's loyalty to Trump and previously supported the House's impeachment of Trump in late 2019 over his efforts to dig up dirt on now-President Biden.

"With what we now know, the president's actions warrant impeachment," Flake wrote in a Washington Post op-ed at the time.

Seven Republicans joined with Democrats on Saturday in voting to convict the former president, short of the seventeen required to hit the 67-vote threshold. Louisiana's Sen. Bill Cassidy (R) was censured by his state party after the vote, and several other Republicans are facing similar backlash.

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