Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona took to the Senate floor to delivering a scathing critique of President Trump and the president’s attacks on the press today. Flake compared Donald Trump’s attacks to those of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, when he called the U.S. press the “enemy of the people.”
“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 criticized the president for attempting to tell the American people what is true and what is not. “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,” the senator said.
“No politician will ever get to tell us what the truth is and is not. And 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.” — Sen. Jeff Flake pic.twitter.com/RLzgigQIuZ
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 17, 2018
Flake has been highly critical of Donald Trump in the past, criticizing him harshly during the presidential campaign. He has said that it is highly likely that there will be a Republican primary challenger to President Trump in 2020. The president, in return, has pledged to support anyone who wanted to run a primary campaign against Flake.
It remains to be seen just how effective Flake’s attacks will be on President Trump though. Flake, who has one of the lowest approval ratings in the Senate at 18%, announced last fall that he would not be seeking another term. Many attribute the lack of support from his home state to his lack of support for the president.
“The bottom line is if I were to run a campaign…where I didn’t have to cozy up to the president and his positions or his behavior, I could not win in a Republican primary. That’s the bottom line,” Flake said.
Only two senators were present on the Senate floor and heard Flake’s comments: Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. Both Democrats.