WASHINGTON, D.C. — Departing Sen. Jeff Flake, (R) -Arizona, blasted President Donald Trump on Wednesday, comparing the 45th president to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
The comments came as Flake addressed his colleagues on the Senate floor in a rant about President Trump’s “war on the press”, which Flake described as an “assault as unprecedented as it is unwarranted.”
“It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies,” Flake said.
“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 ranted.
“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,” he continued.
“This alone should be a source of great shame for us in this body, especially for those of us in the president’s party,” his tirade went on. “The free press is the despot’s enemy, which makes the free press the guardian of democracy. 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.”
“Here in America, we do not pay obeisance to the powerful – in fact, we question the powerful most ardently – to do so is our birthright and a requirement of our citizenship — and so, we know well that no matter how powerful, no president will ever have dominion over objective reality,” Flake contended. “Anyone who presumes to try to attack or manipulate the truth to his own purposes should be made to realize the mistake and be held to account. That is our job here. And that is just as Madison, Hamilton, and Jay would have it.”
“2018 must be the year in which the truth takes a stand against power that would weaken it. In this effort, the choice is quite simple. And in this effort, the truth needs as many allies as possible. Together, my colleagues, we are powerful. Together, we have it within us to turn back these attacks, right these wrongs, repair this damage, restore reverence for our institutions, and prevent further moral vandalism,” Flake challenged.
Flake’s comments come just one day after Trump ordered CNN correspondent Jim Acosta removed from the Oval Office after Acosta repeatedly accused the president of racism (https://rebekahworsham.org/2018/01/16/out-cnn-reporter-forced-out-of-white-house-after-verbal-showdown-with-the-trump/).
The president, no fan of CNN or the liberal media, has often referred to many mainstream media outlets as “fake news”.