McCain: Silencing Media Is 'How Dictators Get Started’

Senator rips Trump as top White House aide says 'bogus stories' must be taken seriously
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2017 8:04 AM CST
McCain: Silencing Media Is 'How Dictators Get Started’
In this Jan. 12, 2017 file photo, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

John McCain assessed President Trump's assertion that the "media is the enemy of the American People" with a blunt pronouncement: "That's how dictators get started," he told Meet the Press, per the Washington Post. "In other words, a consolidation of power," said the Arizona Republican. "When you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press. And I'm not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I'm just saying we need to learn the lessons of history." It wasn't a Fourth Estate love fest for McCain, however, who told Chuck Todd that "I hate the press. I hate you, especially," he said, joking. "But the fact is, we need you. We need a free press. We must have it. It's vital."

McCain has emerged as an outspoken critic of Trump in the month he's been in office, notes the Post. McCain's comments came as the White House doubled down on the media-as-enemy line, with Reince Priebus telling CBS' Face the Nation that the president's comments should be taken "seriously," citing "bogus stories" in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal that were "grossly inaccurate, overstated, overblown, and it’s total garbage." (More President Trump stories.)

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