GOP Sen. Jeff Flake said President Donald Trump’s use of the term “fake news” has given dictators license to put reporters in prison.
Flake said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he would not compare Trump to Russian dictator Joseph Stalin, but said Trump should not refer to the press as an “enemy of the people.”
“I don’t make comparisons between Trump and Stalin. I’m just saying an American president shouldn’t be using that language because it is so fraught with malice,” Flake said. “Our president shouldn’t be using ‘enemy of the people.’ It leads to a type of relationship with the press that has led to this fake news charge that is now picked up by authoritarians globally.”
“They’re now using fake news as justification for jailing journalists, 262 jailed just this past year. That’s a record,” Flake said.
He added that it was wrong of Trump to question the Russia investigation, and he believes it hurts the public’s trust in the government.
“These kind of things do make a difference, they do have consequences that will outlast the presidency, when you erode trust in our institutions,” Flake said. “One of the biggest problems over the past year is the president referring to anything Russian as a hoax. And it wasn’t. Russia did try to intervene in our elections … I think that that is a big big problem.”
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