TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Republican Senator Jeff Flake delivered a floor speech comparing President Donald Trump's attacks on the news media to the rhetoric of late Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
Since announcing he would not run for re-election, Senator Flake has been very vocal with his criticisms of President Trump's conduct and policy views. Trying to turn people against the news media threatens our democracy and mirrors the actions of the late Soviet dictator, Senator Flake told CNN.
He criticized the President for calling the news media the "enemy of the people," calling the attacks unprecedented and unwarranted. "It puzzles me as to why you would use a phrase that is so loaded and has such deeper meaning that the press is the enemy of the people," he said.
Senator Flake tweeted a clarification about the point he is making saying:
There is no comparison between POTUS & Stalin. Stalin was a maniacal killer. The point I will try to make in my speech is POTUS should not use a phrase so associated with Stalin like “enemy of the people” to describe our free press. https://t.co/RglEML84vz
His speech coincides with President Trump's promise to announce "fake news" awards. The president has tweeted that "the most dishonest & corrupt media awards of the year" will take aim at "dishonesty & bad reporting."
Senator John McCain has also taken a stance. He wrote an op-ed blasting Trump for "unrelenting attacks" on the press.
Here's an excerpt:
Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s attitude toward such behavior has been inconsistent at best and hypocritical at worst. While administration officials often condemn violence against reporters abroad, Trump continues his unrelenting attacks on the integrity of American journalists and news outlets. This has provided cover for repressive regimes to follow suit. The phrase “fake news” — granted legitimacy by an American president — is being used by autocrats to silence reporters, undermine political opponents, stave off media scrutiny and mislead citizens.