Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez took the occasion of Sen. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) announcing his retirement to lambast him for supporting President Donald Trump.
Flake critiqued the Republican Party and Trump in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday and received complimentary responses from many Democrats, but Perez did not go in that direction. Instead, he implicated Flake in the rise of Trump and dismissed his criticisms of the president as too little and too late from a senator who mostly voted the party line.
"Senator Flake voted with Donald Trump 91% of the time," Perez wrote. "His retirement is symbol of a Republican Party whose leaders allow Donald Trump’s divisive politics to flourish as long as it serves their political interests, and who fail to criticize this dangerous president until it’s too late."
"Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress remain in lockstep with the Trump agenda and silent in the face of the president’s disgraceful behavior," he added.
— DNC Press (@dncpress) October 24, 2017
This sharply contrasts with statements from other Democrats and many in the media, who have praised Flake for his newfound stand against his own party.
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) October 24, 2017
.@JeffFlake is one of the finest human beings I've met in politics. He is moral, upright, strong & will be missed in the Senate.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) October 24, 2017
My friend @JeffFlake is a good man. An honest broker. A reliable partner in our push for military oversight.
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) October 24, 2017
Rep. Ted Lieu (D., Calif.) even congratulated Flake for joining the "resistance" to Trump. But Perez focused on the reasons to oppose Flake and other Republicans.
"The last thing Arizonans need is another rubber-stamp Republican for Donald Trump’s reckless right-wing policies that hurt working families," Perez said. "Democrats will always fight for the families in Arizona and across the country who want leaders that will stand up to politicians who want to take away health care, raise taxes on the middleclass, and restrict women from making their own health decisions."