Republican Senator from Arizona Jeff Flake has slammed US President Donald Trump’s declaration that media is “the enemy of the people,” saying it is borrowed from Soviet revolutionary leader Joseph Stalin.
“I’m saying he borrowed that phrase,” Flake told MSNBC on Sunday of Trump’s choice of words. “It was popularized by Joseph Stalin, used by Mao as well — enemy of the people. It should be noted that Nikita Khrushchev who followed Stalin, forbade its use, saying that was too loaded and that it maligned a whole group or class of people, and it shouldn’t be done.”
“I don’t think that we should be using a phrase that’s been rejected as too loaded by a Soviet dictator,” he stated.
Trump has often condemned mainstream American news media, particularly those networks and newspapers which viciously opposed him and supported his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, during the 2016 presidential election.
Flake, who announced in October last year that he would not seek reelection to his Senate seat in 2018, has rebuked Trump for his “reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior.”
Trump has said that the Arizona senator is not running again for the Senate because he “is unelectable.”
Flake will return to the Senate floor on Wednesday and make a speech in which he is scheduled to criticize President Trump for his treatment of the press, ahead of Trump’s planned “fake news” awards.
On January 17, Trump is hosting a made-up “fake news” awards show as top late night TV figures race to push for winning the award. The president said that the awards would be given to the “losers”.
“We can’t just retreat into camps like we’re doing,” Flake will say at the Senate floor, according to excerpts of his speech. “People need to stand up and say this is not right. This is not normal.”
Flake will say that 2017 was “a year which saw the truth — objective, empirical, evidence-based truth —more battered and abused than any other in the history of our country, at the hands of the most powerful figure in our government.”
He will further say that the Trump is engaged in an “unrelenting daily assault on the constitutionally protected free press was launched by that same White House, an assault that is as unprecedented as it is unwarranted.”
In the run-up to the November 2016 presidential election, Trump repeatedly accused the mainstream media of bias for not covering “a large-scale voter fraud” underway during early voting across the country. In addition, he called the election process rigged, and said the media was colluding with Clinton in order to beat him.
Last month, Trump again blasted the mainstream US media, saying its work is “a stain on America” after a string of errors in reporting on his presidency had emerged.