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WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) — A couple of retiring Republican Senators are putting out a call for their GOP colleagues to join them in speaking out against the president, who lashed out at their searing criticism.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said his decision to retire from Congress has freed him up to speak out against President Trump.

“The longer we go, the more this behavior is normalized and that is a problem,” said Sen. Flake. “We can’t allow our dialogue to continue to coarsen.”

Flake published an op-ed in The Washington Post Wednesday morning saying Republicans can no longer remain silent waiting for someone else to do something.

“I stand by everything I’ve said,” responded Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who’s also retiring from the Senate and has been critical of the president’s behavior, saying he “debases” the country.

Sen. Flake told CBS This Morning that he believes others will join them.

“I think that we have a responsibility as elected officials to speak out when there’s behavior that is just beyond the pale, and some of what we’ve seen I think fits in that category,” Flake said.

The White House is dismissing Flake and Corker and point to Tuesday’s lunch with GOP senators, where the president received a standing ovation after talking with the group.

President Trump hit back on Twitter.

“I think that they were not likely to be re-elected and I think that shows that the support is more behind this president than it is those two individuals,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Trump continued to say that a Tuesday meeting with GOP senators was, with the exception of Flake and Corker, “a love fest.”

Corker continued to label the White House a “day care.”

Flake declared he would not be “complicit” with Trump.

Flake had raised more than three million dollars for next year’s re-election battle but was trailing former state Senator Kelly Ward in the polls. His approval rating dropped to 30 percent at home in Arizona. Ward is being supported by former White House political adviser Steve Bannon, and President Trump had tweeted his support for Ward, as well.


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