Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake on Wednesday gave the speech he's been promising to give about President Trump, one in which he finds it chilling that Trump borrows a phrase from Josef Stalin to describe the media as the "enemy of the people." CBS News has the transcript of the speech by the outgoing Republican lawmaker. Some lines getting attention:
- "2017 was a year which saw the truth—objective, empirical, evidence-based truth—more battered and abused than any other in the history of our country, at the hands of the most powerful figure in our government."
- "Mr. President, it is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies." (Flake adds that Nikita Khrushchev forbade the use of the phrase "enemy of the people" because it "had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of 'annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader.")
- "An American president who cannot take criticism—who must constantly deflect and distort and distract, who must find someone else to blame—is charting a very dangerous path. And a Congress that fails to act as a check on the President adds to the danger."
- "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."
- "This feedback loop is disgraceful, Mr. President. Not only has the past year seen an American president borrow despotic language to refer to the free press, but it seems he has in turn inspired dictators and authoritarians with his own language. This is reprehensible."
- Rebuttal: "Sen. Flake, turn on the news," tweeted Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. "It's wall-to-wall with biased coverage against @POTUS. He has every right to push back. Comparing the leader of the free world to murderous dictators is absurd. You've gone too far."
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