Former Republican Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake formally endorsed Democratic nominee Joe Biden Monday afternoon after he announced that he was joining the “Republicans for Biden” effort earlier in the day.
Flake, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, decried the Republican candidate’s behavior and disdain for conservatism in a video posted to Twitter.
“It is apparent how the president’s behavior has not and will not change. Some of my conservative friends will say, ‘Yes, we don’t like his behavior but he governs as a conservative.’”
“Here, today, I will say to my fellow conservatives… indifference to the truth or to the careful stewardship of the institutions of American liberty is not conservative,” he said.
“Governing by tweet is not conservative, it’s not even governing,” he added.
It was the honor of my life to represent my state, Arizona – in the United States House and Senate for eighteen years as a conservative. I’m here to talk about the future – both of my party, but more importantly, the future of our country: https://t.co/pxBUFqj9jA
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) August 24, 2020
Flake also criticized the absence of decency in American politics, saying that what was once a central ideal across both parties had been replaced by tribalism, division and vengeance.
“Governing is hard. Democracy is hard. Decency shouldn’t be that hard, but apparently it is. You know what is easy? Name calling, demagoguery, the politics of vengeance is easy. Dehumanization requires very little talent. By raging at each other, our minds vacant of reason and reeling with ill will, with tin-foil hat conspiracy theories, we’ve given in to the horrible tribal impulse to mistake our opponents for our enemies,” Flake said.
Though Flake voted for a third-party candidate in 2016, he said Monday that doing so again would be insufficient. (RELATED: Jeff Flake Says He Will Vote Against Donald Trump In 2020)
“Given what we have experienced over the past four years, it’s not enough just to register our disapproval of the president, we need to elect someone else in his place,” he said.
In response to those who said that a vote for former Vice President Biden was antithetical to conservatism, Flake said that putting country over party was a practice with “noble history,” invoking former GOP Sen. Barry Goldwater’s support for Democratic Rep. Karan English’s Senate candidacy in 1992.
“Goldwater hadn’t traded in his conservative credentials, far from it. He simply believed that in that case, the conservative cause would be better served over the long term if the Democrat prevailed, and that’s what I believe today in this election,” Flake said.
He also praised Biden’s bipartisanism, saying that as president he would “reach across the aisle because that’s what he’s done his entire career.”
“We need a president who summons our better angels,” he added.
With his endorsement, Flake joins over two-dozen Republicans who endorsed Biden on Monday.
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