Key Trump critic to quit Senate as president feuds with lawmakers

Washington - By Anne K Walters, - A vocal critic of US President Donald Trump said Tuesday he will not seek re-election as the president continues to face sharp criticism from a handful of members of his own Republican Party.

Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican from the south-western state of Arizona, said in remarks on the Senate floor he would not run in next year's congressional elections as he denounced the coarsening of political dialogue under Trump as "dangerous to democracy."
"We must never adjust to the present coarseness of our national dialogue with the tone set at the top," Flake said.
"We must never regard as normal the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country," he continued.
"The personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms and institution, the flagrant disregard for truth and decency, the reckless provocations most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have been elected to serve.
"None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal," Flake said.
Flake, who has regularly sparred with Trump, said he had decided not to run for re-election in order to allow himself to speak more freely, without fear of losing to a pro-Trump challenger in a Republican primary, noting much of the party no longer shared his beliefs in limited government, free trade and immigration.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said she believed it was "probably a good move" for Flake not to run again, pointing to his past statements against Trump and declining support in Arizona.
Flake was the second Republican to characterize Trump as dangerous on Tuesday after the president reignited an increasingly personal feud with Senator Bob Corker.
Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who earlier this month had blasted the White House as an "adult daycare centre," reiterated his concerns about Trump's foreign policy and his handling of ongoing discussions about tax reform.
He told reporters that Trump's strategy of name calling and lying was "debasing to our country."
He said the president's behaviour was not improving and was actually "devolving."
Corker, who is also not seeking another term in the Senate, had earlier said in a television interview that Trump should leave foreign policy efforts "to the professionals" and let Congress craft tax reform legislation rather than putting constraints on lawmakers.
Trump then took to Twitter to blast Corker in a series of tweets.
"Isn't it sad that lightweight Senator Bob Corker, who couldn't get re-elected in the Great State of Tennessee, will now fight Tax Cuts plus!" Trump said.
He went on to call Corker "the incompetent head of the Foreign Relations Committee, & look how poorly the US has done."
But Corker hit back at Trump, responding, "Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president. #AlertTheDaycareStaff."
The White House denounced the criticism, claiming that the citizens of Flake and Corker's home states stood with Trump.
"Imagine how incredible and how many great things we could do if people like Bob Corker got on board and did their job instead of grandstanding," Sanders said.


Tuesday, October 24th 2017
By Anne K Walters,

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