Republican Jeff Flake compares Trump with Stalin

The US president has recently come under fire from within his own party by those who claim he is eroding public trust in US institutions by threatening anyone critical of him.

US President Donald Trump has been compared with former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, over his attitude towards the media.

The comments – from fellow Republican Jeff Flake – were delivered on the floor of the Senate.

Flake criticised President Trump’s reference to fake news and alternative facts, as well as for describing the media as “the enemy of the people”. And he also said, “2018 must be the year in which the truth takes a stand against power that would weaken it.”

Repeatedly Flake challenged the President’s statements and claims accusing him of eroding public trust in American institutions by threatening anyone who challenges him.

We are in an era in which the authoritarian impulse is reasserting itself, to challenge free people and free societies, everywhere,” he stated. 

Trump vs the media 

Trump’s attack on media has been intensifying since taking office.

Multiple reporters and news outlets have been targets of Trump on Twitter accused of disseminating what the President calls “fake news” or “fake media.” They are accusations, that in March, prompted concern by the United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner.

Fellow Republican, John McCain has echoed Senator Flake’ sentiments. In an editorial published on Wednesday McCain writes: “Reporters around the world face intimidation, threats of violence, harassment, persecution and sometimes even death as governments resort to brutal censorship to silence the truth.”

The White House is defending the President’s conduct. “We welcome access to the media and encourage the back and forth of exchange and to suggest otherwise is utterly ridiculous,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. 

Trump’s anti-media rhetoric has been copied by other world leaders including President Rodrigo Duterte. He recently branded a Philippine news website as “fake news” after it was critical of his government.

Senator Flake calls Trump’s actions despotic, like that of Joseph Stalin who also characterised journalists as an “enemy of the people.”

In spite of the condemnation Trump’s contempt for journalists and his dismissal of unfavourable news coverage appears unlikely to subside.