“Between the mighty and the modest, truth is the great leveler.”-Senator Jeff Flake

While the president has spent his recent “executive time” avoiding the media and issuing his Fake Media awards, the truth is government is going on without him—or in some cases, despite him.

In the last week, Democrats and Republicans have tried to hammer out a deal to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects the “dreamers” who’ve lived in this country without status since they were children, while also trying to avoid a government shutdown. President Donald Trump has held dreamers hostage and continues to champion a wall he knows can’t be built, will be built, might be built, will be solid, won’t be solid, etc.

On any given day, the president and the GOP, along with the Democrats, have told us varying stories on the wall, but the hostage situation of DACA remains the same. At the same time, the Commander In Chief has continued his daily brow-beating and chest-thumping attacks against the media.

Outgoing Arizona senator Jeff Flake had something to say about it, and on the floor of the Senate no less. “When a figure in power reflexively calls any press that doesn’t suit him fake news, it is that person who should be the figure of suspicion, not the press,” Flake said.

It isn’t the first time the Arizona senator has called out the president, and he’s been at the receiving end of a lot of heat for doing so. The Democrats say it is convenient that he does this as he’s leaving town. The Republicans say he’s a coward who can’t be re-elected. But the truth is Flake had the temerity to say what he thought. Very few in the GOP have done this. And at the same time, he’s continued to vote for the Republican agenda more often than not. Some say that makes him a hypocrite, but he has said he’s not changing his stances just to battle the president.

No member of the GOP I’ve spoken to believes the president is anywhere near honest, and many of them have expressed concern about what he’s done to their party.

So what he did was, in my mind, far braver than an opponent taking Trump to task. A guy who has everything to gain and a lot to lose has taken on his party and the leader of his party. Though the president and Flake agree on many issues (immigration being the one issue where they definitely do not see eye-to-eye), the senator is not putting his partisan desires ahead of the big picture.

For that, he is correct. If we allow demagoguery now, what’s to say it won’t get worse later—and there’s no way to limit its infection if it spreads. Democratic presidents will also be predisposed to this type of behavior if we allow it now. “The president has it precisely backward. Despotism is the enemy of the people. The free press is the despot’s enemy, which makes the free press the guardian of democracy,” Flake said.

I am still upset by those in the GOP with whom I’ve had private conversations. Off the record, they are upset with the president’s language, his inability to compromise, his seeming indifference to facts, his lack of decorum and his overall boorish behavior more suited to a schoolyard bully than the loftiest position of power in the United States. However, as soon as the camera turns on, those very same Republicans sing the praises of the president like Luciano Pavarotti singing “Ah mes amis” at the Met.

Publicly singing an aria of praise for the president while privately condemning him is problematic and disingenuous on several levels. Everyone who still sings Trump’s praises talks about his “earthy” language and his honesty in dealing with the American electorate—a fresh voice in the wilderness of disingenuous politicians. However, these same politicians haven’t learned any lessons because they’re conducting business as usual by engaging in double-talk.

Then, of course, there is the issue of “honesty.” No member of the GOP I’ve spoken to believes the president is anywhere near honest, and many of them have expressed concern about what he’s done to their party and our country. But they won’t say anything against him publicly.

Those who have would rather just quit than continue. Moreover, those who haven’t do so at the expense of the electorate while trying to get their agenda passed through Congress. “We know he’ll sign pretty much what we send him, or most of us think that,” a member of Congress recently told me on background. “So, most of us don’t want to risk that because honestly we’re not doing a very good job passing legislation.”

While the GOP owns the executive branch, both houses of Congress and (as some say) a slight edge in the Supreme Court, the Republicans have had a difficult time governing, and many believe the president is the single biggest reason for that.

Flake is one of those who believe it. As one of the most conservative members of Congress, he should be a godsend to the GOP. But he isn’t. “I played on the Congressional baseball team with him,” a former member of Congress told me. “He has always been…well a bit of a pain.”

The reason? Flake speaks his mind.

The Republicans have had a difficult time governing, and many believe the president is the single biggest reason for that.

Today, that’s reason enough for the president and your fellow GOP congressmen to hold you in the highest minimum regard. The president has proven time and again he doesn’t mind throwing his minions under the bus as he bounces back and forth on issues, scattering his musings like a rabbit scattering pellets on the lawn. He cares even less about those of his own party in Congress—unless, of course, they toss lavish praise his way.

What he minds are those who speak against him, and occasionally those who speak in favor of him. Members of the Republican party who say his scatological references, his denigration of women, his racism, his sophomoric tweets and his overall negative preaching wouldn’t be tolerated from one of their own children are turning this nation’s political climate into a sea of bedlam dominated by the rants of children. Both parties now resemble nothing more than two toddlers with loaded diapers fighting in the same sandbox the local cat uses as a litter box. That’s the level of political discourse in this country.

It is a stain that will be hard to remove. Those who wish to do so are painted as outsiders from members of their own political party. What it portends for all of us is dangerous. On the world stage, even more so. As Flake said, “Not only has the past year seen an American president borrow despotic language to refer to the free press, but it seems he has in turn inspired dictators and authoritarians with his own language.”

The American president, as it turns out, is the toddler with the dirtiest diaper, possibly suffering from heart disease, in desperate need to lose weight and has never met a fact he cannot bend to his will. And he is the loudest voice spreading our values around the world.