Republican Senator Says Donald Trump Is Behaving Like Stalin With Fake News Awards

Trump at rally
U.S. President Donald Trump appears on stage at a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. April 29, 2017. Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Republican Senator Jeff Flake will compare President Donald Trump to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin over his attacks on the U.S. media in a speech due to be given on Wednesday.

Flake criticizes the president over his so-called "Fake News Awards," which Trump says he will give to news outlets that he believes are too critical of him.

"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 will say, according to excerpts of the speech that have been released to the media.

"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."

Joseph Stalin
Josef Stalin. public domain

Senator Flake's speech will be delivered shortly before the president's bizarre "fake news" awards, which he says will be awarded to the "the most corrupt & biased of the Mainstream Media."

"It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase 'enemy of the people,' that even (later Soviet leader) Nikita Khrushchev forbad its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin to for the purpose of 'annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader," Flake will say.

"This alone should be a source of great shame for us in this body, especially for those of us in the president's party. For they are shameful, repulsive statements."

He goes on to describe the free press as "the despot's enemy" and not the enemy of the American people—as Trump branded them in a February tweet.

"The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!" the president wrote on Twitter.

Since the 2016 elections Flake, who is not standing for re-election, has emerged as one of President Trump's sharpest critics.

"2017 was a year which saw the truth—objective, empirical, evidence-based truth—more battered and abused than any other time in the history of our country, at the hands of the most powerful figure in our government," Flake will say.