by Graham Pierrepoint
The White House has seen considerable change in the past few months, even after Donald Trump and his team took up office after Barack Obama departed in February. However, several big names and heads have rolled – Michael Flynn, Sean Spicer, Steve Bannon, the short-lived run from Anthony Scaramucci – and now, it seems that one of Trump’s own senators will not be standing in future as a result of the current running of the Republican administration.
Arizona senator Jeff Flake has announced that he will retire from his position next year, as a result of changes in the party. “There may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican party,” the senator stated publicly on Tuesday. Take this statement as you will – but it is hard not to feel that his words may come from a place of disappointment at the current regime. Flake was among Republican senators who refused to endorse Trump for the Presidency – in fact, in the minority – and he also spoke of now being a time to focus on principles above all else.
“It is time for our complicity and our accommodation for the unacceptable to end,” Flake stated. “There are times when we must risk our careers in favor of our principles. Now is such as time." Flake’s position against Trump is hardly a secret – with the President himself having tweeted negatively about the senator with regards to him being ‘weak on crime & border’. It is largely differences on immigration and on trade that separate the two men – and now, it seems that one of Trump’s few initial Republican critics will be jumping ship – for what many feel will be honorable reasons.
Flake is not the first person associated with the party to have announced retirement in recent months – with representatives such as Florida’s Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Washington’s David Reichert, among others, having advised they will stand no further. It is a movement that has caught fire in US media amid concerns that the Republican party is dividing itself up more than ever. Is ‘Trumpism’ becoming a genuine phenomenon? Are the seeds sown at the White House by the likes of ex-strategist Steve Bannon continuing to bear fruit? It is a complex web that will no doubt offer more interesting twists and turns as the year draws to a close.