Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, self-styled (pseudo) critic of Donald Trump, joined ABC News on Sunday to discuss a speech he plans to deliver Wednesday on the Senate floor, the same day our president will take time from his golfing to deliver “fake news” awards.
In the speech, the partial contents of which his office shared with ABC, Flake berates Trump for referring to the press as the “enemy of the American people,” words famously used by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, by claiming that it’s “a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies.”
The speech continues:
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. [...] “The enemy of the people,” was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017.
Mr. President, it is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase “enemy of the people,” that even Nikita Khrushchev forbad its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin to for the purpose of “annihilating such individuals” who disagreed with the supreme leader.
In between Flake’s sporadic rabble-rousing speeches that criticize the president for eroding our democracy, he enjoys supporting the overwhelming majority of the president’s legislative goals, and has in fact voted alongside Trump in approximately 90.7 percent of cases this session.