Flake tells GOP: Trump 'does not deserve reelection'

Former Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots MORE (R-Ariz.) is urging Republican lawmakers to not support President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Gosar's siblings pen op-ed urging for his resignation: 'You are immune to shame' Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate MORE's 2020 reelection campaign amid an impeachment inquiry fueled by Trump's actions toward Ukraine.

Flake, in a Washington Post op-ed, warned that regardless of the outcome of the impeachment fight, Republicans will have to decide whether, "given what we now know about the president’s actions and behavior, to support his reelection."

"Obviously, the answer is no," Flake added.
 
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Flake, a vocal Trump critic who retired from the Senate in January, acknowledged that opposing Trump's 2020 bid would likely have political consequences. Flake, had he decided to run for reelection in 2018, was expected to have faced a tough primary challenge from the right. 

"My fellow Republicans, it is time to risk your careers in favor of your principles. Whether you believe the president deserves impeachment, you know he does not deserve reelection," Flake added in the Post op-ed. 

"Trust me when I say that you can go elsewhere for a job. But you cannot go elsewhere for a soul," Flake continued. 
 
A few GOP senators have held back from endorsing Trump's reelection bid. Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSchumer: Democrats 'on track' to pass bipartisan deal, .5T budget Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate Collins says negotiators are 'just about finished' with infrastructure bill MORE (R-Maine), who is up for reelection, said earlier this year that she was "not prepared at this point to make that decision." Sen Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneySenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators MORE (R-Utah) told CNN earlier this month that he was "not planning on endorsing in the presidential race." 
 
But Flake's op-ed comes amid a growing fight over impeachment in the wake of a whistleblower complaint tied to Trump's actions toward Ukraine. 
 
The White House also released a partial transcript of Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In the call, according to the document, Trump asked Zelensky to work with his personal attorney, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiCapitol insurrection hearing exposes Trumpworld delusions DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's riot lawsuit Bob Dole: 'I'm a Trumper' but 'I'm sort of Trumped out' MORE, and expressed hope that he “can look into” former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGOP report on COVID-19 origins homes in on lab leak theory READ: The .2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session MORE.
 
Flake, in the Monday op-ed, said impeachment "now seems inevitable" and that "with what we now know, the president’s actions warrant impeachment."
 
"Although Article II, Section 4 is clear about remedies for abuse of office, I have grave reservations about impeachment. I fear that, given the profound division in the country, an impeachment proceeding at such a toxic moment might actually benefit a president who thrives on chaos. Disunion is the oxygen of this presidency," Flake added.
 
Congressional Republicans have largely rallied behind Trump in the wake of House Democrats' decision to start a formal impeachment inquiry. But there are some signs of cracks days into the scandal, with several Republicans signaling they have concerns about Trump's tactics. 
 
Flake has repeatedly tried to push Republicans to take a firmer stance in pushing back on Trump's actions. The stance made him a frequent target for Trump, whom he clashed with frequently over issues like immigration and former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE

"At this point, the president’s conduct in office should not surprise us. But truly devastating has been our tolerance of that conduct. Our embrace of it," Flake said. "We have failed each other, and we have failed ourselves. Let us stop failing now, while there is still time."