For the better part of the last two years, whenever anyone has dared to speak out against Donald Trump, he or she runs the risk of being attacked by pro-Trump trolls. They’re of the mind that daring to speak out against the man who wants to “make America great again” is nothing short of blasphemy.
Now it looks like a Senate candidate running as an open and unashamed Trump supporter has espoused this fundamentally un-American and undemocratic line. Namely, Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He believes that the man whom he wants to replace in the Senate, Jeff Flake, may have committed a treasonous act when he put Trump on blast on the Senate floor.
Flake has never been a big fan of Trump, but has become a particularly severe critic of the Donald in recent months. It may have culminated on Wednesday, when he took to the Senate to blast Trump’s attacks on the media. Watch here.
Flake reserved some of his sharpest criticism to Trump’s claim that the media was “the enemy of the American people.” He recalled that Soviet tyrant Joseph Stalin used the very same language to describe his enemies. As Flake saw it, it was “a testament to the condition of our democracy” that an American president could copy language from one of the most brutal dictators in world history.
Oh, how the wingnuts howled!
Jeff Flake is expected to compare Trump to Stalin
Stalin was one of the most evil people in world history, who killed over 20 million civilians
This type of comparison cheapens the evil of Stalin and is disgusting rhetoric towards our President pic.twitter.com/jdFfTtrE5x
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) January 15, 2018
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) January 17, 2018
I feel like Jeff Flake has completely lost his mind. https://t.co/GKRjhZgnKi
— Ned Ryun (@nedryun) January 14, 2018
— Ex-Dem🇺🇸Latina (@ExDemLatina) January 17, 2018
Note to swamp creature Jeff Flake – the difference is Stalin condemned the press for telling the truth. President Trump is condemning the press for telling lies. #FakeNewsAward
— MARK SIMONE (@MarkSimoneNY) January 18, 2018
Jeff Flake is the most despicable “Republican” Senator I have ever seen in my life. Flake compares President Trump to Stalin because he attacks the media?
Jeff Flake is a jealous, pathetic, & obsessesd man who had his feelings hurt and is like a little girl & can’t get over it.
— Mike (@mike_Zollo) January 17, 2018
One of the other Republicans running for Flake’s seat, Kelli Ward, was equally outraged.
.@JeffFlake’s appalling comparison of @realDonaldTrump to Soviet dictator Stalin on floor of the Senate today is an embarrassment to AZ. I call on all candidates seeking to replace him to join me in condemning it. @RealSheriffJoe @MarthaMcSally @kyrstensinema @deedra2018 pic.twitter.com/IDH3cCY7Ex
— Dr. Kelli Ward (@kelliwardaz) January 17, 2018
It’s rather strange that Ward is clutching her pearls now, since she openly hoped that John McCain would resign in the wake of his brain cancer diagnosis–and all but begged Governor Doug Ducey to appoint her to the seat if McCain does resign.
But all of this is picayune compared to how Arpaio reacted. The former Maricopa County sheriff told Dennis Welch of KPHO-TV in Phoenix that Flake may have crossed a bright line.
“I don’t know if Senator Flake should make some comments against our commander in chief. I’m not saying–it could be considered by some a borderline treason-type situation. I’m not accusing him of that.”
Um, Joe? Sounds like you are indeed accusing Flake of treason.
And just in case there was any doubt, Arpaio went on to warn Arizonans that “we have to be careful” when we speak out against Trump. Welch was understandably stunned, asking if we had the right to speak out against the government, Arpaio replied, “Within reason.”
Well, well. Looks like Arpaio did a very good job of proving Flake’s point for him. He also proved that he may not be able to honestly take the oath of office. Do we really want someone who thinks speaking out against the president could be a “treason-type situation” to be anywhere near the Senate?
Fortunately, Arizonans can do a lot better. Democratic Congresswoman Krysten Sinema is also in the race for Flake’s seat. Unlike Arpaio and Ward, she isn’t willing to bow down before Trump. She’s willing to stand up to him–and unlike Flake, is actually willing to vote against him.
So by all means, we should call for Arpaio to do Arizona and the nation a favor and get out of the race, since he’s already proven he cannot honestly swear to defend the Constitution. But while you’re at it, donate to the Democrat who will actually stand up for Arizona, and not bow down to Trump. Give to Sinema here.
(featured image courtesy Gage Skidmore, available under a Creative Commons BY-SA license)