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Sens. McCain and Flake scold Trump for attacks on free press
On the Senate floor, Sen. Jeff Flake compared Trump to the dictator Joseph Stalin who, like Trump, called the news media the "enemy of the people."
By Delila James
Feb 22, 2018

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WASHINGTON D.C. — Republican Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona both publicly denounced President Trump for his relentless attacks on the media the former in an op-ed in The Washington Post and the latter on the Senate floor.

McCain's op-ed, which appeared Tuesday night, cited instances of violence against journalists, including more than 250 reporters imprisoned across the globe.

"Whether Trump knows it or not, these efforts are being closely watched by foreign leaders who are already using his words as cover as they silence and shutter one of the key pillars of democracy," McCain wrote. "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."

McCain also condemned the constant use of the term "fake news," which he said only signals repressive governments to disparage legitimate media coverage.

On the Senate floor, Sen. Jeff Flake compared Trump to the dictator Joseph Stalin who, like Trump, called the news media the "enemy of the people."

"It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase 'enemy of the people,' that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of 'annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader," Flake said.

Flake also pointed out that specific repressive leaders, including Bashar Assad of Syria and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, had adopted Trump's "fake news" epithet to justify cracking down on journalists.

Both Flake and McCain timed their remarks to coincide with the president's previously announced 'Fake News Awards,' set to take place Wednesday evening.