Resources for Teachers and Students
FOR THE WEEK OF OCT. 30, 2017
‘Reckless, outrageous and undignified:’ 3 Republican senators and an ex-president speak out about Donald Trump
Summarize something the president does or says this week. Can you find a response to it?
Share Washington news that could affect your family, your community or your future. Tell how.
Look for a foreign comment about President Trump. What’s your reaction?
Nine months into his presidency, Donald Trump draws pointed public criticism from men who'd normally be political allies. Three Republican senators – Jeff Flake, Bob Corker and John McCain -- and a past president from their party speak out strongly. The senators aim squarely at the chief executive, while former President George W. Bush uses indirect language. "We must never adjust to the present coarseness of our national dialogue with the tone set up at the top," Flake of Arizona said last week on the Senate floor while announcing that he won't run again in 2018. "We must never regard as normal the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals," he added, describing the president as "reckless, outrageous and undignified." Reminding colleagues that their own children and students nationwide are paying attention, Flake said: "When the next generation asks us: 'Why didn't you do something? Why didn't you speak up?,' what are we going to say?"
Earlier that day, Corker of Tennessee told CNN that Trump "debases our country" and "has great difficulty with the truth." McCain of Arizona tells The New York Times: "I'm doing what I think is right for the country. I don't work for Donald Trump and I don't work for his administration." That followed the longtime senator's harshest criticism so far of Trump's political vision: "To refuse the obligations of international leadership . . . for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history," McCain said Oct. 16 in Washington.
Front-page headlines also reported remarks by Bush, who was in the White House from 2001-09. "Bigotry seems emboldened," he declared in a New York City address two weeks ago, clearly referring to Trump. He also condemned "nationalism distorted into nativism," derided "discourse degraded by casual cruelty" and warned: "Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication."
Senator says: "I couldn't sleep at night having to embrace the president or condoning his behavior or being OK with some of his positions. I just couldn't do it." – Jeff Flake in Washington Post interview
Journalist says: "The four men represent a new type of freedom caucus, one whose members are free to speak their minds about the president and how they see his words and actions diminishing the United States and its standing in the world without fear of the political backlash from hard-right conservatives." – Carl Hulse, The New York Times
TV comedian says: “Trump was tweeting again today. He said that his big meeting with Republican senators was a ‘love fest’ with multiple standing ovations. They were mostly people getting up to leave, but still, that counts as a standing ovation.” – Jimmy Fallon
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