Jeff Flake’s criticism of Trump’s G7 antics is a sham

Talking the talk, but not even trying to walk the walk.

CREDIT: Al Drago/Getty Images
CREDIT: Al Drago/Getty Images

On the heels of the Trump administration’s unhinged, ad hominen attacks against Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the weekend, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) responded by tweeting, “Fellow Republicans, this is not who we are. This cannot be our party.”

It was far from the first time Flake has tweeted basically that same thing.

Flake is among a group of Republican senators who took to Twitter to signal moral opposition to Trump’s latest attack on an American ally — one that included John McCain (R-AZ) and Susan Collins (R-ME).

But while Republican senators are willing to talk about how they oppose Trump, they seem to be unwilling to actually do anything to stop him.

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It’s not as though it’s an impossible task. With the U.S. Senate currently including 51 Republicans, all it would take is one Republican to break from the majority and form a coalition with the chamber’s 47 Democrats and two independents that could effectively hold up Trump’s agenda.

They could block the protectionist trade policies that fueled Trump’s ire toward Trudeau in the first place. One Republican senator, Bob Corker (R-TN), already made an effort to do that by introducing legislation that would give Congress broad authority to block the president from implementing tariffs without congressional approval. While Flake is a co-sponsor of the bill, Collins and McCain are not, and its prospects are uncertain at best.

Beyond Trump’s veto power, recent polling alludes to a major reason why Republicans are reluctant to do more than tweeting to oppose Trump. According to a Gallup survey released earlier this month, 87 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s performance — the highest same-party favorability of any Republican president at this point in his first term in the last 60 years, with the exception of George W. Bush, who at the time was riding a post-9/11 wave of popularity.