Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) says President
Donald Trump’s attacks against the press are reminiscent of similar tactics employed by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
During his first year in office, Trump has repeatedly blasted the nation’s news media as “fake” and dishonest, even going so far as to call it “
the enemy of the American people” last year.
Appearing on ABC’s “This Week” program on Sunday, Flake, a frequent critic of the president, said he planned to give a speech Wednesday about the president’s behavior.
“When you reflexively refer to the press as the enemy of the people or fake news, that has real damage,” Flake said on Sunday to ABC host George Stephanopoulos. “It has real damage to our standing in the world. And I noted how bad it is for a president to take what was popularized by Joseph Stalin, the enemy of the people, to refer to the press.”
Stalin infamously used the phrase “enemies of the people” to consolidate power during the early years of the Soviet Union, sending critics and detractors to suffer in labor camps.
Meanwhile, Trump on Wednesday is also expected to announce the winners of something he dubbed as the “The Fake News Awards.” The prizes, he said, will go to “the most corrupt and biased” news organizations.
Trump over the weekend disputed The Wall Street Journal’s account of an interview he did with the paper last week in which he was quoted as saying he probably has a very good relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump claimed on Twitter that he actually said “I’d have a good relationship with” the
authoritarian leader, a distinction he called a “big difference.”
The Wall Street Journal, however, posted
audio of the interview on Sunday and said it stood by its reporting. Story continues CORRECTION: A previous version of this article said that Flake’s Sunday quote was an excerpt from an advanced copy of his speech. Also on HuffPost Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) "Donald Trump’s behavior this week, concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults, make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy," McCain said in a statement. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) Ayotte never formally endorsed Trump, but said she was withdrawing her support. "I wanted to be able to support my party's nominee, chosen by the people, because I feel strongly we need a change in direction in our country. However, I'm a mom and an American first, and I cannot and will not support a candidate who brags about degrading and assaulting women. I will not be voting for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton and instead will be writing in Governor Pence on election day." Rep. Cresent Hardy (Nev.) "I will no longer support the guy at the top of the ticket," Hardy said on Saturday. Sen. Dan Sullivan (Alaska) "We need national leaders who can lead by example on [sexual assault and domestic violence]. The reprehensible revelations about Donald Trump have shown me that he can't. Therefore I am withdrawing my support for his candidacy," Sullivan said in a statement. Rep. Ann Wagner (Mo.) "I have committed my short time in Congress to fighting for the most vulnerable in our society. As a strong and vocal advocate for victims of sex trafficking and assault, I must be true to those survivors and myself and condemn the predatory and reprehensible comments of Donald Trump," Wagner said in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. ""I withdraw my endorsement and call for Governor Pence to take the lead so we can defeat Hillary Clinton." Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) "The abhorrent comments made by Donald Trump are inexcusable and go directly against what I've been doing in Washington to combat assaults on college campuses. Because of this, I am rescinding my support for Donald Trump and asking to have my name removed from his agriculture advisory committee. With the terrible options America has right now, I cannot cast my vote for any of the candidates, so I hope Donald Trump withdraws from the race so the American people can elect Mike Pence as our next president," Davis said in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Sen. Shelley Moore Capitol (W. Va.) "As a woman, a mother, and a grandmother to three young girls, I am deeply offended by Trump's remarks, and there is no excuse for the disgusting and demeaning language. Women have worked hard to gain the dignity and respect we deserve. The appropriate next step may be for him to reexamine his candidacy. Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.) "I will not vote for Donald Trump,” he said in a statement. “If Donald Trump wishes to defeat Hillary Clinton, he should do the only thing that will allow us to do so — step aside, and allow Mike Pence to be the Republican party’s nominee. If he fails to do so, I will not vote for Hillary Clinton but will instead write-in my vote for Mike Pence.” Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley "I endorsed Governor John Kasich for President, because I felt like he was the most qualified and the best person to lead our nation. I certainly won't vote for Hillary Clinton, but I cannot and will not vote for Donald Trump," Bentley said in a statement. Rep. Tom Rooney (Fla.) “As the father of three young sons, I don’t want my boys growing up in a world where the President of the United States is allowed to speak or treat women the way Donald Trump has,” Rooney said in a statement. "“My greatest responsibility in life is to try and be a good husband and father. If I support Donald Trump, I will be telling my boys that I think it is okay to treat women like objects – and I’ll have failed as a dad.” Rep. Erik Paulsen (Minn.) "I will not be voting for him,” Paulsen said in a statement. Rep Joe Heck (Nev.) “I can no longer look past the pattern of behavior and comments that have been made by Donald Trump,” Heck said on Saturday. “Therefore, I cannot in good conscience continue to support Donald Trump.” Rep. Frank LoBiondo (N.J.) “Saying this election has been incredibly disappointing is an understatement. It never had to be this way. We should be debating the issues that affect our nation’s future. Instead we have two horribly flawed choices. It is clear that neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton can unify a deeply divided country.“I have repeatedly and strongly spoken out against Mr. Trump when he degrades and insults women, minority groups and Gold Star military families. I will not vote for a candidate who boasts of sexual assault. It is my conclusion that Mr. Trump is unfit to be President.“Similarly Secretary Clinton’s dishonorable actions – flagrantly ignoring federal laws, repeated failures in judgment on critical foreign policy and national security decisions, and intentionally lying to Congress and the American people – have disqualified her.“I cannot support and will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to be President of the United States. I will write in Governor Mike Pence for President,” LoBiondo said in a statement. Sen. Deb Fischer (Neb.) "The comments made by Mr. Trump were disgusting and totally unacceptable under any circumstance. It would be wise for him to step aside and allow Mike Pence to serve as our party's nominee," Fischer said in a statement. But she later said she planned to vote for Trump anyway. Rep. Bradley Byrne (Ala.) "Donald Trump's comments regarding women were disgraceful and appalling," Byrne said in a statement. "There are absolutely no circumstances when it would ever be appropriate to speak of women in such a way." "It is now clear Donald Trump is not fit to be President of the United States and cannot defeat Hillary Clinton. I believe he should step aside and allow Governor Pence to lead the Republican ticket." Byrne later said that he would, after all, support the Republican ticket. Rep. Scott Garrett (N.J.) Garrett said that Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, would be "the best nominee for the Republican Party to defeat Hillary Clinton," according to the AP. Garrett later said he still intended to vote for the GOP nominee. "Donald Trump remains the nominee of the Republican Party, and Rep. Garrett has always said he will vote for the Republican Party nominee,” his campaign manager said. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) "I'm out. I'm pulling my endorsement," Chaffetz said in an interview on Friday. "I can not support in any way, shape or form the comments or approach Donald Trump has taken. This is so over the top, it is not even acceptable in locker rooms. It shouldn't be acceptable anywhere. We are talking about the president of the United States. I want someone of high moral values." But less than a month later, Chaffetz tweeted that he would vote for Trump after all. Sen. John Thune (S.D.) "Donald Trump should withdraw and Mike Pence should be our nominee effective immediately," Thune tweeted. But Thune said he still intends to vote for Trump. Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today. This article originally appeared on HuffPost.