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Flake: Trump's treason comments 'not normal'

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeOn The Money: Treasury official charged with leaking info on ex-Trump advisers | Trump to seek 5 percent budget cut from Cabinet members | Mnuchin to decide by Thursday on attending Saudi conference Mnuchin to decide by Thursday whether to attend Saudi conference GOP senator: Not 'appropriate' for Mnuchin to go to Saudi conference MORE (R-Ariz.) ripped President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing 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."