Sen. Jeff Flake is free to speak his mind after deciding not to run for re-election in Arizona—and the Republican plans to do so in a series of speeches on the Senate floor targeting President Trump and stressing the value of telling the truth. Flake tells NPR that the speeches will focus on the importance of facts to American democracy. "It is damaging to a democracy if you say things are fake news that aren't, and portray facts as something else," he says. Flake, who has been clashing with Trump since before last year's election, lamented the rise of "alternative facts" in his recent book Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle.
"You've got to have shared facts," Flake told the New York Times earlier this week, discussing a report that Trump is now claiming the infamous Access Hollywood tape was faked. "And on so many of these, there's empirical evidence that says no: You didn't win the popular vote, there weren't more people at your inauguration than ever, that was your voice on that tape, you admitted it before." NPR notes that Trump has often fired back at Flake, calling him "anemic" and "unelectable," among other things, although he'll need the senator's vote to pass his tax reform plan. Flake's office hasn't said when his series of speeches will start, but it won't be this week. (Read more Jeff Flake stories.)