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McCain rips Trump for attacks on press

McCain rips Trump for attacks on press
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Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcConnell: GOP could try to repeal ObamaCare again after midterms Comey donates maximum amount to Democratic challenger in Virginia House race Live coverage: McSally clashes with Sinema in Arizona Senate debate MORE (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday condemned President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE’s combative attitude toward the press and called on Congress to protect journalists worldwide.

“Whether Trump knows it or not, these efforts are being closely watched by foreign leaders who are already using his words as cover as they silence and shutter one of the key pillars of democracy,” McCain said in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post.

McCain called the Trump administration’s treatment of journalists “inconsistent at best and hypocritical at worst,” particularly when it comes to condemning attacks on the press abroad.

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McCain cited foreign leaders who have adopted the term “fake news,” which is Trump’s preferred moniker for unfavorable press coverage. Foreign leaders using the phrase can make it more difficult for activists abroad to express dissent, McCain argued.

He suggested Congress should take it upon itself to encourage allies to review their policies that ensure freedom of the press, authorize foreign assistance to support independent media outlets and condemn violence against journalists.

“We cannot afford to abdicate America’s long-standing role as defender of human rights and democratic principles throughout the world,” McCain said. 

McCain’s op-ed was published the night before his fellow Arizona Republican, Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMnuchin pulls out of Saudi conference The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns On The Money: Treasury official charged with leaking info on ex-Trump advisers | Trump to seek 5 percent budget cut from Cabinet members | Mnuchin to decide by Thursday on attending Saudi conference MORE, is set to deliver a speech slamming Trump for labeling the media the “enemy of the people.” 

Flake, who is retiring from the Senate when his term expires next January, is expected to compare Trump’s use of the term to Soviet Union dictator Josef Stalin’s use of the term, according to excerpts of the speech shared with The Hill.