World / Politics

Sen. Flake faults GOP, Democrat partisanship for Trump rise

AP, Staff Report

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake took his own party to task as well as Democrats, blaming both in a new book for the political gridlock that led to Donald Trump’s presidency and its current chaos.

The debut of the Arizona lawmaker’s book “Conscience of a Conservative” comes amid turmoil in the White House marked by Anthony Scaramucci’s rocky 11 days as communications director and the replacement of the chief of staff.

The book published by Random House goes on sale Tuesday.

Flake says in the book that people who felt abandoned by the top parties were drawn to Trump, “a candidate who entertained them and offered oversimplified answers” to complex issues.

The senator says that since the election conservatives have been in denial as the government at its highest levels has become dysfunctional.

Flake was highly critical of Trump during the presidential campaign, but has sought to reach common ground and backed some of the administration’s initiatives, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s backup proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it later.

Flake also said his own party was largely responsible for Trump’s ascendance to the White House.

“With hindsight, it is clear that we all but ensured” his rise, he wrote, according to an excerpt published by the Politico website.

“It was we conservatives who rightly and robustly asserted our constitutional prerogatives as a co-equal branch of government when a Democrat was in the White House but who, despite solemn vows to do the same in the event of a Trump presidency, have maintained an unnerving silence as instability has ensued,” Flake wrote. “To carry on in the spring of 2017 as if what was happening was anything approaching normalcy required a determined suspension of critical faculties. And tremendous powers of denial.”

Scaramucci left his post in the Trump administration on Monday, days after he let loose an expletive-filled rant against senior staff members, including then-chief of staff Reince Priebus. A White House statement said he left so that the new chief of staff, former Homeland Secretary John Kelly, could build his own team.