The other day Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) made a crazy speech on the Senate floor where he compared President Trump to Stalin. Specifically, Flake took issue with the way Trump battles with the media.
In part, Flake said:
“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. 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.
“This alone should be a source of great shame for us in this body, especially for those of us in the president’s party. For they are shameful, repulsive statements. And, of course, the president has it precisely backward – despotism is the enemy of the people. 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.
“I dare say that anyone who has the privilege and awesome responsibility to serve in this chamber knows that these reflexive slurs of “fake news” are dubious, at best. Those of us who travel overseas, especially to war zones and other troubled areas around the globe, encounter members of U.S. based media who risk their lives, and sometimes lose their lives, reporting on the truth. To dismiss their work as fake news is an affront to their commitment and their sacrifice.”
So when White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked about the speech, she accused Flake of being a ‘mouthpiece’ for communist Cuba:
“Sanders brought up a recent trip the Arizona senator took to Cuba and how he agreed with Cuban government officials and said there was no attack on U.S. diplomats.
“’In response to Sen. Flake specifically, I found it quite interesting that he is coming out to attack this president, considering he’s one that was recently defending an actually oppressive regime,’ Sanders replied. ‘He went to Cuba a few weeks ago and served as mouthpiece for the oppressive Cuban government.’
“’He is, I think, looking for some attention. I think it’s unfortunate, and certainly I think our position here at the White House is that we welcome access to the media every day,’ she added.