Flake: Trump's rhetoric about the media 'has real damage'

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots MORE (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions The Memo: Left pins hopes on Nina Turner in Ohio after recent defeats Biden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic MORE’s rhetoric about the media “has real damage."

“When you reflexively refer to the press as the enemy of the people or fake news, that has real damage,” Flake told ABC’s “This Week.”

Flake has not been shy in critiquing Trump, and recently slammed the president’s reported comment about “shithole countries.” 

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Trump often attacks the media on Twitter, invoking his signature “fake news” line for stories he dislikes. 

Flake, who will retire after his current term in the Senate ends, argued the president’s language regarding the press negatively impacts America’s standing on the world stage.

“It has real damage to our standing in the world,” Flake said.

“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,” he added, referring to the deceased leader of the former Soviet Union.

Trump early Sunday went after The Wall Street Journal, calling the newspaper "fake news" over an interview in which Trump is quoted as saying “I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un."

"The Wall Street Journal stated falsely that I said to them 'I have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un' (of N. Korea). Obviously I didn’t say that," Trump wrote on Twitter.

"I said 'I’d have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un,' a big difference. Fortunately we now record conversations with reporters ... and they knew exactly what I said and meant. They just wanted a story. FAKE NEWS!"