Pro-Donald Trump conservatives blasted Republican Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) Tuesday over the lawmaker’s new book, “Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle.”
Conservative thought leaders from Media Research Center President Brent Bozell to radio host Mark Levin to Fox News’ Sean Hannity took the GOP senator to task over the title, which is also the name of the 1960 book by former Arizona Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater. Bozell, in a statement, said that “every conservative leader knows, my father L. Brent Bozell, Jr., ghost-wrote ‘Conscience of a Conservative’ for Barry Goldwater.”
“On behalf of my late father and my family, I am denouncing Sen. Flake and his new book,” Bozell tweeted. In an attached statement, he said, “My father would be appalled to see this fraud as the author of the so-called sequel, which it most certainly is not.”
On behalf of my late father and my family, I am denouncing Sen. Flake and his new book, dishonestly titled, “Conscience of a Conservative.” pic.twitter.com/WwuxuDM1NZ
— Brent Bozell (@BrentBozell) August 1, 2017
“The media needs to know, when reporting on Sen. Flake and his ‘book,’ that the author is a deceiver out for personal and financial gain. I also call on my conservative brethren to denounce this impostor, who dishonorably claims to speak for conservatism, in the strongest possible terms,” Bozell said. Bozell pointed out that Flake’s Conservative Review Liberty score is 53 percent — “also known as ‘F’.”
Bozell wasn’t the only conservative to speak out against Flake’s new book, however. Other pro-Trump firebrands also weighed in.
“Jeff Flake is a liberal,” Conservative Review Editor-in-Chief Mark Levin said on his radio show Tuesday.
Of Flake’s new book title, “Conscience of a Conservative,” Levin added, “I think it’s a great title. The problem is it’s already been written.
“Here we have Flake, who takes the title of the book, ‘Conscience of a Conservative,’ the cover of the book, which is not identical but very close to the original cover of ‘Conscience of a Conservative’ slaps his own meaningless, imbecilic arguments inside a book called ‘Conscience of a Conservative’ to justify his liberal sellout agenda.”
According to the Amazon description, Goldwater’s 1960 book “reignited the American conservative movement and made Barry Goldwater a political star” and “has influenced countless conservatives in the United States, helping to lay the foundation for the Reagan Revolution in 1980.”
Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday also took aim at Flake. Hannity played a clip of Flake saying Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that “the [Republican] party has lost its way. We’ve given into nativism and protectionism.”
In a separate interview with MSNBC, Flake said he is “very concerned about where the party is going and the anti-immigration fervor.”
“Somehow, conservatism has become being mean or loud,” Flake said, taking a not-so-subtle jab at the current Oval Office occupant.
Hannity took issue with Flake’s assessment, however, instead telling the junior senator from Arizona, “No … you’ve lost your way.”
“Instead of trying to sell your books, maybe senator, you should be focused on lowering Obamacare premiums,” which in Flake’s home state of Arizona skyrocketed 116 percent in the past year.
“The Never Trumpers, like Sen. Flake, they don’t seem to understand that by blocking the president’s agenda, they’re only harming, you, the American people,” Hannity told his Fox News audience Tuesday night.
— Cris (@ThePatriot143) August 2, 2017
While it’s true that Flake opposes some of Trump’s agenda, such as the proposed border wall, the senator supports the president in other areas. For example, Flake voted in support of the Obamacare “skinny repeal,” which 48 Democrats and only three Republican senators — Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and John McCain (Ariz.) — voted against.
Flake told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday that senators should not simply go along with everything a president from their own party supports.
“We’ve got to get away from this attitude that you have to agree with the president and that a senator should be a rubber stamp for everything the president wants at all times,” Flake said.
“I will agree with this president when I think he’s doing conservative things, and doing decent things, and I’ll oppose him and speak up when I think that he isn’t,” Flake said.
As Tapper noted during the interview, Flake is up for re-election in Arizona in 2018. President Donald Trump has reportedly reached out to potential challengers to Flake, such as former Arizona state Sen. Kelli Ward, who unsuccessfully challenged McCain in 2016.