By Melito Salazar Jr.
Two United States Republican senators, Jeffry Lane Flake and Bob Corker, have had enough of the US President and Republican Party titular head Donald Trump, openly disassociating themselves from his type of governance and leadership style.
Before the chamber, Arizona Senator Flake said “reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior” at the top of the US government was dangerous to democracy. He lamented the “flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal concerns.” Bemoaning that his Republican colleagues had “given in or given up on core principles in favor of a more viscerally satisfying anger and resentment,” he challenged them: “It is time for our complicity and our accommodation for the unacceptable to end. These are times when we must risk our careers in favor of principle. “
Tennessee Senator Bob Corker has “walked a fine line with Trump, both praising and criticizing the president. During the last election, Corker provided foreign policy advice to Trump which continued until Trump’s inauguration.” But his criticism of President Trump has escalated in recent months. In the wake of the Charleston racially motivated protests, he charged that the president “has not demonstrated he understands the character of this nation…Helping inspire divisions because it generates support from your political base is not a formula for causing our nation to advance, our nation to overcome the many issues we have to deal with right now.” He has described the White House as an “adult day care center” and warned that the president risked setting the US “on the path to World War III.” He has told The New York Times, “I don’t know why the president tweets out things that are not true. You know he does it, everyone knows he does it, but he does.” In a CNN interview, he suggested that he would soon convene hearings to examine the ways President Trump “purposely has been breaking down relationships around the world.” He further said, “I don’t know why he lowers himself to such a low, low standard and is debasing our country.”
Both senators have announced that they will not seek re-election. Belittling the criticism, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said, “I think that the people both in Tennessee and Arizona supported this president, and I don’t think the numbers are in favor of either of those two senators in their states…” Yet objective observers will note that Senator Flake had consistently been a libertarian-leaning fiscal conservative reflected in his book, “Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle,” 2017. Other Republicans like Senator McCain and even former President Bush have criticized President Trump.
Anyone looking for a parallelism with Philippine politics will find none. The two senators critical of the Duterte administration are in the opposition – Senator De Lima detained on charges based on allegations from convicted prisoners as found sufficient by a Department of Justice headed by a secretary who has repeatedly announced her guilt and Senator Trillanes with a running battle with President Duterte over bank accounts and waivers of secrecy. None of the other senators are joining the fray and for good measure (or as a warning to others?), another “witness” has alleged dealings of former Senate President Frank Drilon and former Senator and presidential candidate Mar Roxas with drug lords in Western Visayas.
Or could the reason be – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is not Trump?
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