McCain rips Trump for attacks on press

McCain rips Trump for attacks on press
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Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDonald Trump's 2020 election economic gamble 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary MORE (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday condemned President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Official testifies that Bolton had 'one-on-one meeting' with Trump over Ukraine aid Louisiana governor wins re-election 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 FlakeLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Kelly, McSally virtually tied in Arizona Senate race: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing 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.