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Ex-Sen. Jeff Flake calls for Republican Party to leave Trump: 'We should have' convicted him

Former Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFive reasons why US faces chronic crisis at border Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain Former GOP lawmaker: Republican Party 'engulfed in lies and fear' MORE (R-Ariz.) condemned the Senate's acquittal of former President TrumpDonald TrumpSt. Louis lawyer who pointed gun at Black Lives Matter protesters considering Senate run Chauvin found guilty as nation exhales US says Iran negotiations are 'positive' MORE in an op-ed published Monday, calling the vote the final "normalization" of a president who should never be considered normal.

In the op-ed published on CNN.com, the Arizona Republican wrote that his own party should have voted to convict Trump and bar him from running for federal office, writing: "We didn't convict him. We should have, but we didn't."

"Let's not compound the grievous injury to the country and our party by continuing to embrace him, for Trumpism is the opposite of conservatism. We all know that, too. There is nothing to gain by making a pilgrimage to Florida," Flake continued, apparently referring to the recent visit by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyWaters on Chauvin guilty verdict: 'I'm not celebrating, I'm relieved' House rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters READ: McCarthy's resolution censuring Maxine Waters MORE (R-Calif.). "There is no enlightened mystic at Mar-a-Lago — just a diminished man who lost an election and couldn't accept it."

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Flake continued, adding that "the vote to acquit [Trump] is the final act in the normalization of a President whose behavior was not normal, can never be acceptable, and culminated in a monstrous assault on American democracy."

Flake has long criticized the GOP's loyalty to Trump and previously supported the House's impeachment of Trump in late 2019 over his efforts to dig up dirt on now-President BidenJoe BidenBiden overruled Blinken, top officials on initial refugee cap decision: report Suicide bombing hits Afghan security forces Jim Jordan, Val Demings get in shouting match about police during hearing MORE.

"With what we now know, the president's actions warrant impeachment," Flake wrote in a Washington Post op-ed at the time.

Seven Republicans joined with Democrats on Saturday in voting to convict the former president, short of the seventeen required to hit the 67-vote threshold. Louisiana's Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyBottom line Calls grow for national paid family leave amid pandemic Senators urge Energy chief to prioritize cybersecurity amid growing threats MORE (R) was censured by his state party after the vote, and several other Republicans are facing similar backlash.