Meghan McCain: Trump may use coronavirus as 'draconian' power grab 'akin to the Patriot Act'

Meghan McCainMeghan Marguerite McCainComedian Norm Macdonald dies following battle with cancer: report Meghan McCain joins Daily Mail as columnist 'The View' plans series of conservative women as temporary McCain replacements MORE on Monday said she fears President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE may exploit the coronavirus pandemic for a “draconian” power grab “akin to the Patriot Act" signed into law shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

“There is an argument being made by some people in media that the press conferences shouldn’t be being covered," McCain said on "The View," referring to the daily coronavirus task force briefings led by the president.

"My argument for keeping the press conferences is I think we’re at a place where President Trump, he’s always been a sort of totalitarian president, in a way that we’ve never historically seen before,” she said.

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“My fear is that he’s going to play on the American public’s fears in a draconian way and possibly do something akin to the Patriot Act going forward where he uses this moment in time to play off our fears for his own benefit." 

Less than two months after the 9/11 attacks, the Patriot Act passed by a 357-66 vote in the House and 98-1 in the Senate. 

The act substantially expanded government surveillance powers in the war on terrorism. Critics charge it went too far.

Trump's approval on his handling of the coronavirus crisis stands at 49.8 percent, according to the RealClearPolitics index of major polls, with disapproval at 47.7 percent.