‘That’s How Dictators Get Started’: John McCain Slams President Trump’s Attacks on Media

February 19, 2017, 3:30 PM UTC

Arizona Sen. John McCain strongly criticized President Donald Trump‘s repeated attacks against the media during a new interview with NBC News.

“That’s how dictators get started,” McCain told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd in response to a number of comments Trump has made attacking the media, including a series of recent tweets calling the industry “fake news.”

On Friday, Trump lambasted the “FAKE NEWS media,” deeming the New York Times, NBC News, ABC, CBS and CNN the “enemy of the American People!” on Twitter.

McCain, who has sparred with Trump on a number of issues, defended the necessity of the media.

“I hate the press. I hate you especially,” the Republican senator joked to Todd. “But the fact is, we need you. We need a free press. We must have it. It’s vital.”

The suppression of the free press gives rise to dictators, McCain said.

“In other words, a consolidation of power. When you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press,” McCain said. “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.”

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