Flake's Final Anti-Trump Virtue Signal

The outgoing senator refuses to vote on judicial nominees without legislation to protect Mueller.

Thomas Gallatin · Nov. 15, 2018

The outgoing “Republican” senator from Arizona, Jeff Flake, decided to pander once again to the wishes of Democrats and the Left. On Wednesday, Flake announced that he will not vote to advance or confirm any of the current 53 pending judicial nominees until the Senate votes on legislation aimed at preventing President Donald Trump from firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller. “The president now has this investigation in his sights, and we all know it,” Flake warned.

Flake drew his line in the sand following Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to bring forward legislation protecting the Mueller investigation. The Kentucky Republican subsequently dispelled Flake’s fears: “I don’t think any legislation’s necessary.”

CNN commentator Jeffrey Toobin rebuked Flake’s futile move: “Is there anything more empty in American politics than a threat from Jeff Flake? … The idea that Jeff Flake is going to hold up anything to protect Robert Mueller is, in my opinion, absurd. Mitch McConnell has said we don’t need a law to protect Robert Mueller, and that means there’s not going to be a law to protect Robert Mueller. … Mitch McConnell is in charge. … I mean, this is not a fair fight. Mitch McConnell and a 98-pound weakling named Jeff Flake is just … not going to happen.”

As for Flake’s line in the sand, thus far only one other Republican senator has expressed “concern” and a desire for legislation to protect the special counsel — Maine’s Susan Collins. That said, she has not stated whether she will stand with Flake in refusing to vote on judiciary nominations. And even Flake himself has not said that he will vote against nominees — just that he will not vote in favor — meaning he could simply vote present.

Flake’s problem is that he has continued to allow his personal dislike of Trump to cloud his vision. He seems unable or unwilling to see the many good decisions Trump has made, some of the best of which have been Trump’s judiciary nominees. In fact, one of the main reasons so many conservatives voted for Trump in the first place was concern over the judiciary. Conservatives have long bemoaned Democrats filling the courts with activist judges who legislate from the bench. They saw Trump’s promise to nominate constitutionally committed judges as important enough to look past his glaring personal failures. And their vote has been rewarded, as Trump has more than lived up to that promise.

Now Flake, mere weeks away from complete political irrelevancy, raises a lame-duck virtue signal on a bill that is likely unconstitutional and he expects what … accolades? He should do himself and the nation a favor and serve out his remaining days in office by voting in the country’s best interest, not according to some fallacious two-year-old Russia-collusion, anti-Trump narrative.

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