Republican Senator Jeff Flake is one of a handful of Republicans who decided to abandon the sinking Trump ship. Since he announced that he would not run for re-election, he’s burned Trump on more than one occasion.
After Trump’s first State of the Union address, the president began throwing the word “treason” around. According to him, Democrats who didn’t stand and clap for his every word committed treason. A Democratic lawmaker already had to give Trump a lesson on the meaning of treason and remind him that it’s not a word to be taken lightly.
The White House later downplayed Trump’s treason remark, claiming it was only a joke. GOP Senator Jeff Flake fired back by informing the White House that “treason is not a punchline.”
Sen. Flake stated from the Senate floor:
“Mr. President, words matter. Have we arrived at such a place of numb acceptance that we have nothing to say when a president of the United States casually suggests that those who choose not to stand or applaud his speech are guilty of treason? I sincerely hope not.”
“I have seen the president’s most ardent defenders use the now-weary argument that the president’s comments were meant as a joke, just sarcasm, only tongue in cheek. But treason is not a punchline, Mr. President.”
The senator later added, “Mr. President, respect is earned not commanded. Applause signals approval of an idea, not loyalty to one’s country. Our Democratic colleagues love this country as much as we do, and to suggest otherwise is unconscionable. None of us in Congress pledge loyalty or service to the president. This is not a royal court. Our oath is to the Constitution and to the people.”
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