In Farewell Address, Jeff Flake Warns That ‘Threats to Our Democracy From Within and Without Are Real’

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) speaks to the press after receiving a briefing from U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on developments in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 28, 2018. (Credit: Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) speaks to the press after receiving a briefing from U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on developments in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 28, 2018. (Credit: Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Republican Senator Jeff Flake issued a warning on Thursday that “the threats to our democracy from within and without are real” and that the country is currently experiencing a “moment of political dysfunction and upheaval.”

Flake, a frequent conservative critic of President Donald Trump, made the remarks during a farewell address on the Senate floor. The Arizona Republican is retiring at the end of his current term and leaving the Senate.

During the speech, Flake said that despite his concerns, he remains “optimistic about the future,” but said that his “optimism is due more to the country that my parents gave to me than it is due to the present condition of our civic life.”

He said that “to say that our politics is not healthy is somewhat of an understatement,” and that he believes, “we all know well that this is not a normal time and that the threats to our democracy from within and without are real, and none of us can say with confidence how the situation that we now find ourselves in will turn out.”

He added, “We are of course testing the institution of American liberty in ways that none of us ever imagined we would — and in ways that we probably never should again.”