Republican Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake delivered a Senate floor speech knocking President Trump’s criticisms of the media to a nearly empty chamber on Wednesday.
Only one senator, Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin from Illinois, remained in the chamber for Flake’s speech. A handful of reporters and TV cameras made up the rest of Flake’s audience. Sen. Amy Klobuchar was present in the chamber for a portion of Flake’s speech, but probably just because she delivered remarks directly after Flake.
But CNN is airing it live so that’s what matters
— Erica Werner (@ericawerner) January 17, 2018
Flake compared Trump to Josef Stalin for his attacks on the media, pointing to a tweet where Trump referred to the mainstream media as the “enemy of the people.”
Flake described 2017 as “a year in which a daily assault on the constitutionally protected free speech was launched by the same White House, an assault as unprecedented as it is unwarranted.”
“‘The enemy of the people’ was how the president of the United States called the free press in 2017. Mr. President, it is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies,” Flake said.
Flake delivered his speech the same day another Republican critic of Trump, Arizona Sen. John McCain, slammed the president’s media criticisms in the Washington Post. McCain criticized “Trump’s attempts to undermine the free press” in a column that ran in Wednesday’s paper.