Before we run to nominate Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) as the designated white man to bring cups, plates, napkins and other nonfood items to the cookout because of the scorched-earth flames he threw on the Senate floor—in which he compared President Donald Trump to Joseph Stalin—let’s be selective about who gets into the collective backyard and has unlimited access to the good brown liquor.
Yes, Flake, who’s been a frequent critic of Trump, was a force for good against this administration’s evil ways when he took to the Senate floor Wednesday morning to rebuke the president’s endless attacks on the media and the truth.
“No longer can we compound attacks on truth with our silent acquiescence. No longer can we turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to these assaults on our institutions,” Flake said in his speech, CNN reports. “An American president who cannot take criticism—who must constantly deflect and distort and distract—who must find someone else to blame—is charting a very dangerous path. And a Congress that fails to act as a check on the president adds to the danger.”
Then Flake put both feet in the paint and compared Trump to the Soviet dictator and criticized the president for being unable to handle criticism of any kind. He also called out the president’s assault on the media, which Trump has called the “enemy of the people,” a mere hours before the president announced his Fake News Awards contestants (I seriously pray that we are nominated).
“It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies,” Flake said. “It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase ‘enemy of the people’ that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of ‘annihilating such individuals’ who disagreed with the supreme leader.”
Flake announced earlier this year that he wouldn’t be seeking re-election and added that he plans to use his remaining time in Congress to speak out against the president when he believes it’s warranted.
While I respect Flake for going out with a bang, a quick look at his voting record proves that he and the president seem to be in lockstep more often than not.
First, Flake voted for every one of Trump’s Cabinet nominations, including the grossly unqualified Betsy DeVos as secretary of education. In fact, Flake voted for every Trump proposal from his first day in office until the issue of sanctions against Russia became a major point for the Arizona Republican. Flake voted to keep former President Barack Obama’s sanctions in place because of the country’s reported tampering in the 2016 elections.
Second, and arguably most important, Flake voted against a bill that provided billions of dollars in disaster relief for Puerto Rico. He also voted for the final version of the tax bill, which is essentially reparations for the top 1 percent, and voted to confirm Kirstjen Nielsen as the head of homeland security. If you’re wondering where you’ve heard that name before, Nielsen is the same woman who was on the receiving end of Sen. Cory Booker’s fade over her inability to remember whether the president used the term “shithole” when referring to black and brown countries.
In short, it’s nice that Flake is using his moment to have a moment, but he might be the first 2018 nominee for the Paris Dennard “We See You, Nigga” Award for cowardice disguised as bravery in the face of danger.
Read more at CNN.