Flake to Condemn Attacks on Free Press
“Sen. Jeff Flake is planning to slam President Donald Trump's attacks on the press on the Senate floor this week in a speech that will compare the president's use of the term ‘enemy of the people’ to describe the media to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin,” NBC reported Sunday.
According to excerpts provided to the outlet, Flake will address Trump directly. As NBC reported:
"Mr. President, 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 plans to say in the Senate remarks.
"It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase 'enemy of the people,' that even (later Soviet leader) Nikita Khrushchev forbad its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin to for the purpose of 'annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader," Flake will say.
"This alone should be a source of great shame for us in this body, especially those of us in the president's party. For they are shameful and repulsive statements."
Flake also appeared on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, where he told host George Stephanopoulos that “you can talk about crowd size, and that is pretty innocuous if there’s a falsehood there, but when you reflexively refer to the press as the ‘enemy of the people’ or ‘fake news,’ that has real damage.”
“That has real damage to our standing in the world,” Flake continued. “…and then now, today, you have authoritarians across the world using the term ‘fake news’ to justify cracking down on their opposition or to staunch legitimate debate. That’s nothing we should be proud of.”
.@jeffflake to @gstephanopoulos on Pres. Trump's attacks on the media: "When you reflexively refer to the press as the enemy of the people, or fake news, that has real damage," and it has real consequences." #ThisWeek pic.twitter.com/O8H1B0Dgzg— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) January 14, 2018
According to FiveThirtyEight, which tracks congress “in the age of Trump,” Flake has voted in line with the president’s position 90.7% of the time as of late December.
Also in late December, Flake advised he believes that Trump’s trajectory is “going to leave a huge swatch of voters looking for something else” in 2020. He further noted that “he’s probably inviting a Republican challenge,” adding fuel to the fire that the challenger would be the retiring Arizona Senator himself.
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