Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) is one of his party's most articulate critics of Donald Trump. What the Arizona Republican has not done, however, is match his rhetoric with action.
I made the case in January that I actually like Flake's speeches, op-eds, and books criticizing the president. I also recognize that it takes some political courage to speak out the way he has. But I keep waiting for the Arizona senator to actually do something -- to follow up his welcome words with deeds -- instead of preparing the next speech, op-ed, and book.
With this in mind, it's only fair that I give credit where credit is due: TPM noted that Flake is prepared to use his power to push new legislation to check the White House.
In response [to Trump's new trade tariffs], Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said Thursday that he will soon draft a bill to block the tariffs from taking effect, calling Trump's move "a marriage of two lethal poisons to economic growth -- protectionism and uncertainty."
"Trade wars are not won, they are only lost," he said in a statement. "Congress cannot be complicit as the administration courts economic disaster. I will immediately draft and introduce legislation to nullify these tariffs, and I urge my colleagues to pass it before this exercise in protectionism inflicts any more damage on the economy."
Now, it's probably worth having a conversation about the fact that Republicans were willing to put up with a whole lot of offensive presidential conduct before this week, and only agreed to take some meaningful legislative action once it was an economic issue on the line. For now, however, let's put that aside.
Let's instead note that many GOP lawmakers, including close allies of the president, are at least sending the right signals about checking Trump's latest moves. "I don't think Republicans will put up with this, and I personally believe that we may be able to stop it in the Congress," Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah said yesterday.