Sen. Jeff Flake: Trump Needs to Stop Calling People Who Don’t Stand or Applaud Every Line ‘Un-American’

By Melanie Arter | February 12, 2018 | 9:55 AM EST

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) (Screenshot of NBC News video)

( - Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that President Donald Trump should stop calling people “who don’t stand or applaud at every line … ‘un-American.’”

During a speech on the Senate floor last week, Flake criticized the president for calling Democrats who did not applaud his speech treasonous. Flake said “treason is not a punchline.”


When asked if the media needs to get a sense of humor like White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said when questioned about the president’s words during a White House briefing last week or if the president needs to watch his words, Flake said, “No, I think the president stops-- needs to stop calling Democrats or Republicans or others who, who don't stand or applaud at every line that he has that they're ‘un-American.’”

Flake also called out the president’s use of the term “fake news,” saying that it gives “aid and comfort to authoritarians around the world who are now labeling their opposition or dismissing real dissent as fake news.

“Those things matter,” Flake said. “So I don't think that it's a joking matter to say that somebody is treasonous, and he ought to stop it.”

“You're one of the few Republicans that spoke up on that issue. Not many others did, and it seems like fewer and fewer are comfortable criticizing the president when he, when he does some of these sort of unusual attacks on his opponents. Why is that?” NBC’s Chuck Todd asked.

“Well, I think the real problem, as I've tried to mention, is that we are seeing now as normal things that we shouldn't see as normal, and this degradation of the political culture is a real concern, where we're no longer outraged when we ought to be, and that's a problem.” Flake said.

“So I do think that more of us ought to stand up and say, ‘Hey, this is beyond the bounds of where politics ought to be.’ And the longer we go without doing that, you know, the further politics slides into areas that just are unhealthy,” Flake added.


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