In an op-ed in The Washington Post published Tuesday night, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) — who dramatically announced he's retiring at the end of his term in January 2019 — wrote that when he thinks about President Trump's time in office, he can't help but link what's happening now to a statement made in 1954.
On June 9, 1954, Joseph Welch, the Army's chief counsel, asked communist-hunting Sen. Joseph McCarthy, "Have you left no sense of decency?" Others in the room broke into applause, because "someone had finally spoken up and said: Enough," Flake wrote. "By doing so, Welch reawakened the conscience of the country. The moment was a shock to the system, a powerful dose of cure for an American democracy that was questioning its values during a time of global tumult and threat."
Reflecting on some of Trump's darker moments over the past year — public feuds with Gold Star families, "shocking bigotry," and "childish insults" spewed at hostile foreign powers — Flake said there is a "sickness in our system," and "nine months of this administration is enough for us to stop pretending that this is somehow normal, and that we are on the verge of some sort of pivot to governing, to stability. Nine months is more than enough for us to say, loudly and clearly: Enough." Now more than ever, elected officials need to stand up for good, Flake said, and he'll be vocal about doing what's right. "For the next 14 months, relieved of the strictures of politics, I will be guided only by the dictates of conscience," he said. "It's time we all say: Enough." Read the entire op-ed at The Washington Post.