Senator Jeff Flake warns of the danger of attacking the press
“When you reflexively refer to the press as the ‘enemy of the people’ or ‘fake news’ that has a real damage. It has real damage to our standing in the world.” Jeff Flake.
After the President’s comments against African countries and immigrants that had lost the temporary protection status came public, the Republican Senator of Arizona, Jeff Flake, has made clear his position regarding the immigration debate, especially considering his trajectory in bipartisan negotiations for over 17 years.
In an interview with ABC News, Flake not only confirmed that Trump’s comments – calling those countries “shitholes” and asking to “take out” the Haitians immigrants from the country – were actually heard during the meeting, but also assured that the Democrat Party “is working in good faith to help these immigrants.”
These declarations come as a consequence of the constant retaliation of the President against news media, the Democrat Party, and against any platform or personality that opposes his policies or openly criticizes him.
Only a few days ago, the President was treating the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as done for, blaming the Democrat Party for its criticism against the president’s racist comments behind closed doors.
Flake, who had previously lashed out against the president, discrediting his behavior as the leader of the country, has then decided to deliver a speech in the Senate’s floor this Wednesday to address an issue that he considers “very delicate” to the national stability: the constant presidential attack against the press.
“2017 was a year which saw the truth – objective, empirical, evidence-based truth – more battered and abused than any other in the history of our country, at the hands of the most powerful figure in our government,” Flake said in the Senate Floor.
For the Senator, the danger of this behavior is the “effect of eroding trust in our vital institutions and conditioning the public to no longer trust them,” adding that, “the destructive effect of this kind of behavior on our democracy cannot be overstated.”
Towards highlighting the historical meaning of this kind of behavior when undermining the credibility of the media that antagonize the President, Flake recalled that the phrase used by Trump only days after taking office, where he called the press “the enemy of the people” was actually “borrowed from the infamous Russian leader Josef Stalin”, and that its danger was proven in such a manner that his successor, Nikita Khrushchev had forbidden its use after the dictator’s death.
Likewise, the Senator exposed current circumstances in which autocratic governments have been using the same strategy, painting a parallelism with the American government. Flake highlighted the case of the Syrian President, Bashar Assad, assuring that, “we are not in a ‘fake news’ era, as Bashar Assad says. We are, rather, in an era in which the authoritarian impulse is reasserting itself to challenge free people and free societies, everywhere.”
Therefore, the Senator urged his colleagues to “take a stand” and become “allies of the truth.”
“We have it within us to turn back these attacks, right these wrongs, repair this damage, restore reverence for our institutions, and prevent further moral vandalism,” he said.