A Republican senator gave a blistering speech comparing Trump to Stalin and blasting the president’s criticism of the press

Sen. Jeff Flake.

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Sen. Jeff Flake.
source
CNN

  • Sen. Jeff Flake blasted President Donald Trump’s treatment of the press, comparing the president to dictator Joseph Stalin.
  • Flake has been one of the most outspoken Republican opponents of Trump’s rhetoric.

Sen. Jeff Flake dedicated 15 minutes on Wednesday to blasting President Donald Trump’s criticism of the press.

In a speech on the Senate floor, the outgoing Arizona senator expanded on his previous denunciations of the president’s rhetoric, saying Trump’s attacks on journalists were “unwarranted” and “unprecedented.”

“An American president who cannot take criticism, who must constantly deflect and distort and distract, who must find someone else to blame is charting a very dangerous path,” Flake said. “And a Congress that fails to act as a check on that president adds to that danger.”

Though often critical of Trump, Flake went further in Wednesday’s speech than in previous statements and interviews, saying America is “in an era when the authoritarian impulse is reasserting itself” and noting the “daily dissembling of our institutions.”

He also compared the president to Russian dictator Joseph Stalin, and added that with his rhetoric, Trump was encouraging dictators and authoritarians like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

“It is a testament to the condition of our own democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies,” Flake said.

GOP chair Ronna McDaniel responded shortly after Flake’s speech.

Flake is set to retire in 2019 after the conclusion of his term. Though he has been one of the most outspoken Republicans criticizing the president’s rhetoric, some on the left have argued that the Arizona senator has largely supported legislation backed by Trump.