(Corrects date of Ryan interview in 10th paragraph)
WASHINGTON, Oct 25 (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Jeff Flake said on Wednesday he expected more Republican colleagues to speak out against Donald Trump’s behavior as well as his policies, one day after denouncing the Republican president in a speech.
Flake had accused the president of “reckless, outrageous and undignified” behavior and said his “instinct to scapegoat and belittle threatens to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking people.” In the speech on the Senate floor, Flake also announced he will not seek re-election when his term ends in 2018.
“Privately a number of my colleagues have expressed concern about the direction of our politics and the behavior of the president,” Flake said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.
“There comes a tipping point where you realize we just can’t continue to normalize this kind of behavior so I do think we’ll have more people stand up in the coming months,” he said.
Flake’s criticism came on the same day that Republican Senator Bob Corker lashed out at Trump as “an utterly untruthful president” who was debasing the United States.
Despite the verbal attacks, Trump said in a Twitter post on Wednesday that a lunch with Senate Republicans the day before had been a “love fest.”
In the tweet, the president said: “Jeff Flake, with an 18% approval rating in Arizona, said ‘a lot of my colleagues have spoken out.’ Really, they just gave me a standing (ovation)!”
Despite control of the White House, the House of , the Republicans have yet to deliver any major legislative victories on priorities such as tax reform, healthcare and immigration.
Republican Senator John McCain, who is fighting brain cancer, also has spoken out sharply against Trump. But most Republicans in Congress have remained silent as the president has attacked politicians from his party and threatened North Korea and the media on Twitter.Representatives and the Senate
“I think people should settle their differences personally,” Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Wednesday in an interview with Reuters. “I think it’s better that way. I think it’s in our interest to have party unity so that we can continue to work forward on an agenda.”
So far, comments by Flake and Corker have drawn more praise from Democrats, rather than from fellow Republicans.
“History will judge Senator Flake and Senator Corker as two men of the greatest conscience to have graced this chamber on either side of the aisle in a long time,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said. (Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Bill Trott)