Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday blasted President Trump’s “unrelenting attacks” on the media, 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 op-ed published in The Washington Post.
McCain called Trump’s treatment of journalists “inconsistent at best and hypocritical at worst.”
The Hill added:
McCain cited other 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.
“Only truth and transparency can guarantee freedom.”
McCain’s op-ed comes the night before Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) is set to deliver a major speech condemning Trump for labeling the media the “enemy of the people,” comparing his use of the term to Soviet Union dictator Josef Stalin’s use of the term.