Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., (center) attends a luncheon with other GOP senators and President Trump on July 19 at the White House.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., chose a dramatic moment to question the direction of his party.

Flake, a longtime critic of President Trump, has written a book detailing where he thinks his party has gone wrong.

“I’m not blaming this lack of principle, or where we are, solely on the president. He’s more the culmination of it,” Flake says.

Flake never endorsed his party’s presidential candidate. He has praised many of Trump’s appointments but is dismayed by his policies. Now he’s preparing to campaign for re-election in 2018 amid talk that the president would like someone to challenge Flake in a primary.

During this time he’s been critiquing the president, Flake has written Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle, a book he says he wrote in secret. Even his staff didn’t know until recently.

It carries a provocative title, borrowed from another book, which was written by Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., generations ago. It had been more than five decades since Goldwater concluded that the GOP had been, Flake says, “compromised” by big, New Deal-era federal bureaucracy and was moving away from the principles of limited government. It was time to reassess, he says.

“I’m very troubled about where the Republican Party is now. It seems that we’ve been compromised, but this time by different forces — those of populism and protectionism, isolationism, xenophobia and I’m concerned about how we remain a governing party with those principles,” he says.

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SOURCE: NPR, Steve Inskeep

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