Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) is now among the growing list of politicians speaking out against President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump held a joint press conference with Putin on Monday in Helsinki, and the topic of discussion revolved more around mutual praise than anything else.
The backlash against the president started swiftly after he implied that Putin was more reliable than leaders in U.S. national intelligence.
“I have great confidence in my intelligence people,” Trump said. “But I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
Trump also placed blame on the U.S. for tensions with Russia.
“I hold both countries responsible,” he said. “I think that the United States has been foolish.”
Following the summit, Flake blasted Trump’s statement, calling it “shameful.”
I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) July 16, 2018
Flake has previously denounced Trump’s behavior.
“I can tell you no president, Democrat or Republican, in recent memory, has exhibited the kind of behavior that this president has,” he said in October.
That same month, he criticized the executive branch on the Senate floor and claimed that change needed to happen.
“Mr. President, I rise to say, enough,” Flake said. “We must dedicate ourselves to making sure that the anomalous never becomes the normal.”
More recently, Flake has taken to Twitter to comment on Trump’s views on tariffs, NATO, and the indictment of Russian officials:
When we were attacked on 9/11, our NATO allies rushed to our defense. They have remained stedfast ever since, sacrificing thousands of lives in Afghanistan over these many years to keep us safe. I hope they know how much we appreciate their commitment and friendship.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) July 11, 2018
“I will not be complacent or silent,” the senator said last year when announcing he would not seek re-election. “I decided I will be better able to represent the people of Arizona and to better serve my country and my conscience by freeing myself of the political consideration that consumed far too much bandwith and forced me to compromise too many principles.”