Republican Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), after criticizing the president in the strongest terms, have announced they won’t seek re-election.
Flake cited the “coarsening” tenor of politics in the United States. Corker complained that Trump was “debasing our nation.”
An Oct. 13 announcement by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was a mirrored version of her colleagues’ decisions: The state of politics in 2017 has led her to stay in a job she had considered leaving.
Many of those in politics willing to criticize Trump by name have had little to lose. Either they’re at the end of their careers or they’ve already left office.
But others who have criticized Trump publicly — quite a number are women — have stayed in their jobs, enduring the consequences and continuing their work. Examples include ESPN’s Jemele Hill, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Megyn Kelly, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Puerto Rican Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz. They all have sustained tweets of ridicule from Trump and haven’t backed down.
The issue is not gender but fortitude. As an editorial in the Nov. 6 “New Yorker” observes, “The country needs people to speak out … . That will require people who still have something to lose to be willing to stake it … .”
Collins, in choosing to stay, takes on that gamble in the Senate. We’re not surprised, but we are appreciative.