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Flake: Trump's treason comments 'not normal'

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFormer GOP lawmaker: Republican Party 'engulfed in lies and fear' Grassley to vote against Tanden nomination Klain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' MORE (R-Ariz.) ripped President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE for suggesting that Democrats not applauding during his State of the Union speech was treason, saying Trump's remarks are "not normal." 

"One who levels such a charge knows neither the meaning of treason nor the power that the words of a president carry. ... Our silence will also mark the day that we failed to recognize that this conduct in an American president is simply not normal," Flake said from the Senate floor. 

Trump said Monday that Democrats were "un-American" for largely sitting silent and stone-faced during his speech last week, adding: "Somebody said, 'treasonous.' I mean, yeah, I guess. Why not? Can we call that treason? Why not? I mean, they certainly didn't seem to love our country that much." 

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The White House has defended the remarks, saying Trump was being "tongue-in-cheek," but they've sparked wide backlash from Democrats as well as a growing number of Republicans. 
 
Flake questioned his colleagues, asking if they had grown "numb" to Trump's behavior, and warned if they had grown numb, they would come to regret not standing up for their Senate colleagues.
 
"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 punch line," he said. 
 
He added that our "Democratic colleagues love this country as much as we do. To suggest otherwise is simply unconscionable."