GOP, welcome to the resistance

GOP, welcome to the resistance
© Greg Nash

When Republican Senators Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane Flake'Never Trump' Republicans: Fringe, or force to be reckoned with? The Memo: Can the Never Trumpers succeed? Former GOP Sen. Jeff Flake says he will not vote for Trump MORE and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerRomney is only GOP senator not on new White House coronavirus task force McConnell, Romney vie for influence over Trump's trial RNC says ex-Trump ambassador nominee's efforts 'to link future contributions to an official action' were 'inappropriate' MORE delivered their rebukes of President TrumpDonald John TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points MORE, they weren’t just talking about the preservation of conservative values, they were talking about preserving American values. Flake and Corker were articulating values that are bigger than any party or political affiliation. They were talking about the failure of Republicans to align their words with their actions. Both Flake and Corker recognize that the values embodied by the president don’t represent the values embodied by the American people. Values like empathy, honesty, compassion and integrity. Values that should be non-negotiable in a free and open society. Values that the Republican Party would be well served to re-embrace.

Flake and Corker are two Republican members of Congress that few Democrats could have ever expected to call an ally in their battle against Trump. Both Flake and Corker are solidly conservative, voting in favor of more than 90 percent of all conservative legislation. Corker even supported Trump during the 2016 presidential election, endorsing candidate Trump and appearing at rallies alongside him. As chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Corker brought a sense of legitimacy to a Trump campaign that so desperately needed it. But less than a year into the president’s first term in office, there are now legitimate questions coming from Republicans over whether the GOP should completely abandon Trump.

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Pillars of the Republican Party, such as John McCainJohn Sidney McCainHow Obama just endorsed Trump Former Texas Rep. Sam Johnson dies at 89 Trump's needless nastiness and cruelty will catch up with him MORE and George H. W. Bush, have publicly questioned whether there is a place for them in “Trump’s Republican Party.” Moderate Republicans like Mitt Romney find the party of Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater completely unrecognizable thanks to cultish personalities like Steve Bannon and Donald Trump. These are not normal times. These times call for extraordinary leadership and extraordinary action. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have an obligation to hold the president accountable.

Democrats have certainly spoken up and reflected similar sentiments to those echoed by Flake and Corker. Democrats have certainly warned Americans of the dangers posed by a Trump presidency. Democrats have certainly warned Americans about the message that continuing to allow Trump to represent our country sends to the rest of the world. But when Republicans like Flake and Corker join the chorus of voices bemoaning the lack of decency coming out of the White House, it matters.

Flake and Corker not only give cover for other Republicans looking to find their moral compass and speak out against the president, but they also remove any semblance of politicization in their critiques. Flake asked the same question on the floor the Senate that Democrats have asked since Trump captured the Republican Party nomination. He asked his colleagues, “When the next generation asks us, why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up? What are we going to say?”

When Republicans like Flake and Corker speak out against the behavior of the president, they are saying that their love of country far exceeds their love of party. When Republicans speak out against the conduct of the president, they are saying that no tax cut, no health reform, and no endorsement from the president is worth sullying their reputation and violating their conscience. When Republicans speak out against the demeanor of the president, they are saying that no fear of reprisal is ever worth selling out the American people. When Republicans speak out against the rhetoric of the president, they are saying enough is enough with the anger and resentment.

Republican leaders can no longer stay silent because saying nothing makes them complicit. In the midst of an outbreak of nativism and tribalistic tendencies, it is a moral imperative that Republican leaders speak up. The Republican Party must embrace a more ideologically and demographically diverse group of voters. Its long-term survival depends on it. Republicans can’t rely on stoking racial tensions and creating alternative realities to stay in office forever. The roosters will come home to roost.

Republican leaders like Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanTwitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why Lobbying world John Ratcliffe is the right choice for director of national intelligence — and for America MORE can no longer sit on the sidelines and dismiss the president’s tweets as a silly season. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFor city parks: Pass the Great American Outdoors Act now US ill-prepared for coronavirus-fueled mental health crisis Schumer to GOP: Cancel 'conspiracy hearings' on origins of Russia probe MORE cannot continue to talk about policy negotiations while the foundations of our institutions are eroding. Flake and Corker have drawn a line in the sand. There can be no compromise. As the Arizona Republican eloquently said, “It is time for our complicity and our accommodation for the unacceptable to end.” He continued, “There are times when we must risk our careers in favor of our principles. Now is such a time.”

Democrats can only hope that Republicans find the courage to join Jeff Flake and Bob Corker in reflecting actual American values instead of exploiting bumper sticker patriotism. These two senators are resisting the very encroachments that led to the foundation of this country. They have chosen a principled approach to our political crisis. Democrats stand in solidarity with them. Keep resisting.

Michael Starr Hopkins is an attorney and former member of the presidential campaigns of Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe battle of two Cubas Obama on the death of George Floyd: 'This shouldn't be "normal" in 2020 America' Democrats gear up to hit GOP senators on DACA MORE and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump campaign launches Asian Pacific Americans coalition Van Jones: A 'white, liberal Hillary Clinton supporter' can pose a greater threat to black Americans than the KKK Taylor Swift slams Trump tweet: 'You have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence?' MORE. He regularly appears on Fox News and CNN to talk about national politics. You can follow him on Twitter @TheOnlyHonest.