As President Donald Trump continues his contentious battle with the press, Senator John McCain delivered an underhanded jab and vague suggestion saying that reducing the efficacy of the media is “how dictators get started.”
The outspoken Senator expressed these remarks in an sit down with Chuck Todd, NBC’s “Meet the Press” host, after being asked about the president’s condemnation of several media outlets as “fake news” and “an enemy of the American people.”
This is following a very heated and contentious press conference President Trump had this past Thursday, where he excoriated news media for covering him unfairly and with a tone of what he perceives as “such hatred”.
“We need a free press. We must have it. It’s vital,” McCain assured.
“If you want to preserve – I’m very serious now – if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press,” McCain suggested. “And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started.”
The Senator advised that he wasn’t coming to the conclusion that Trump is seeking to turn into a dictator. The observations were made throughout a conversation about the world order and America’s position in that leading responsibility after WW2.
“They get started by suppressing free press,” the Senator explained, “In other words, a consolidation of power when you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press. And I’m not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I’m just saying we need to learn the lessons of history.”
McCain was additionally questioned about the prospects of Congress to look into Russia’s supposed factor in the recent Presidential election, and precisely what communications Michael Flynn, the ex-national security adviser, had with the Russia’s US ambassador ahead of Trump’s inauguration.
“Can be Americans be confident that a Republican-controlled Congress can investigate this president thoroughly if necessary?” Chuck Todd inquired of McCain.
McCain answered, “I hope so. And I have to believe so.” Following that McCain immediately declared, “More hope than belief.”
The interview with NBC hasn’t been the only time in the last week McCain has made his feelings heard regarding the differences between the President and himself. Mccain was at the Munich Security Conference on Friday, and had several things to say there regarding his views as well. The Senator said at the conference: “In recent years, this question would invite accusations of hyperbole and alarmism; not this year,” McCain stated. “If ever there were a time to treat this question with a deadly seriousness, it is now.”
McCain also said at the Munich conference, “more and more of our fellow citizens seem to be flirting with authoritarianism and romanticizing it as our moral equivalent.”
It is unclear how this growing divide between the two will result, but McCain seems resolute in his steadfastness to his views, and so does President Trump.