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Jeff Flake spoke against Trump because he 'couldn't sleep at night having to embrace the president or condoning his behavior'

In a Washington Post interview published Saturday, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) gave some insight into his rationale in criticizing President Trump's character and conduct in a dramatic speech on the Senate floor this week.

"I couldn't sleep at night having to embrace the president or condoning his behavior or being okay with some of his positions," Flake said. "I just couldn't do it — it was never in the cards," he added, acknowledging the damage his decision has done to his political career.

"I knew that when I spoke out at that time that I was out of step with a lot of the Republican primary voters, but I felt that I had to do it," Flake explained. "I had hoped — and I still hope and I'm confident at some point — that the fever will break. But it just became more and more apparent that it certainly wasn't going to break by next year." Flake's speech included an announcement of his retirement from the Senate; primary contest polling already indicated his chances of re-election in 2018 were slim.

Check out the rest of the Post interview here, or read The Week's Scott Lemieux on what Flake should do next.