It isn't often that a member of the U.S. Senate compares the president of the United States and the leader of his own party to Josef Stalin, but that's just what Jeff Flake did today, Politico reports. Appearing on MSNBC, the Arizona Republican said that Trump's description of the press as "the enemy of the people" is reminiscent of the Soviet dictator. "I'm saying he borrowed that phrase," Flake said. "It was popularized by Josef Stalin, used by Mao as well—'enemy of the people'. It should be noted that Nikita Khrushchev, who followed Stalin, forbade its use, saying that was too loaded and that it maligned a whole group or class of people, and it shouldn't be done." Trump first used that description for the media on Twitter last February.
But Flake isn't content with just criticizing the president on the Sunday shows. Per CNN, he will be delivering a speech on the floor of the Senate Wednesday chiding the president for his attacks on the news media, calling them "an assault as unprecedented as it is unwarranted." "The free press is the despot's enemy, which makes the free press the guardian of democracy," Flake will reportedly say. "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." Flake's speech is scheduled for the same day as Trump's "Fake News Awards," though there is some controversy about whether presenting those awards would put the president's staff in legal trouble. (Read more Jeff Flake stories.)