By Robert A. Vella

Retiring Republican senator from Arizona, Jeff Flake, has prepared a public speech he will deliver in the next few days.  Excerpts released to the press condemn President Trump as an undemocratic despot hostile towards the news media.  Flake’s prepared remarks equate Trump’s tactics to those of Joseph Stalin who ruthlessly suppressed freedoms in the former U.S.S.R. as a means to control information, eliminate dissent, and to solidify his hold on power.

From:  In planned speech, Sen. Jeff Flake compares Trump’s media attacks to comments by Stalin

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. It was a year which saw the White House enshrine “alternative facts” into the American lexicon, as justification for what used to be known simply as good old-fashioned falsehoods. It was the year in which an unrelenting daily assault on the constitutionally-protected free press was launched by that same White House, an assault that is as unprecedented as it is unwarranted. “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 forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of “annihilating such individuals” who disagreed with the supreme leader.

This alone should be a source of great shame for us in this body, especially for those of us in the president’s party. For they are shameful, repulsive statements. And, of course, the president has it precisely backward — despotism is the enemy of the people. The free press is the despot’s enemy, which makes the free press the guardian of democracy. When a figure in power reflexively calls any press that doesn’t suit him “fake news,” it is that person who should be the figure of suspicion, not the press.

I dare say that anyone who has the privilege and awesome responsibility to serve in this chamber knows that these reflexive slurs of “fake news” are dubious, at best. Those of us who travel overseas, especially to war zones and other troubled areas around the globe, encounter members of U.S. based media who risk their lives, and sometimes lose their lives, reporting on the truth. To dismiss their work as fake news is an affront to commitment and their sacrifice. Mr. President, a new report from the Committee to Protect Journalists documents that the number of journalists imprisoned around the world has reached 262, which is a new record. This total includes 21 reporters who are being held on “false news” charges.

Commentary by The Secular Jurist:  Comparing Trump to Stalin is certainly valid, although I’d like to point out an important distinction.  While both figures are megalomaniacal, Stalin was far more sophisticated in his strategy and tactics.  The term Machiavellian is apropos in his case while it not so in Trump’s case.

12 thoughts on “Retiring GOP Senator Jeff Flake to give speech equating Trump to despots like Stalin

  1. If only Repukelicans in Congress who weren’t stepping down would say such things, I’d have a smidge more confidence that they weren’t all walking sacks of shit. Of course, they would never do this, so my opinion goes on unabated. And, yes, tRump is very much unlike Stalin in that Stalin, though an ass, was not a bumbling dork with the educational equivalency of a cockroach. Trump has no plan. No reason to be. No sense of tomorrow. All he is is a large, orange spoiled-rotten baby who throws a tantrum any time he isn’t given praise by the press and all around him. ME, ME, ME!!! is all Trump has the capacity to think about. Thus, in many ways, he is far more dangerous than Stalin ever was. Before threatening nuclear annihilation, Stalin would stop and think about the consequences of his behavior. Trump is incapable of such thoughts, and, because of that, we could all easily be blown up tomorrow over the fact Kim Jung-un called him a bad name. Scary, scary times indeed.

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  2. Great report, Bob. It really is sad that more elected Republicans don’t stand up for the free press and condemn Trump’s awful language and attacks on the men and women who toil in the news industry. I’m sure there will be a reckoning.

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  3. I agree with your assessment about trump’s severe lack of intelligence and any semblance of self control preventing too strong a resemblance to Josef Stalin. It’s probably more appropriate to compare him to Adolf Hitler. Though Hitler was much more intelligent, he was a bombastic speaker who was mentally ill and had a certain amount of charisma – like trump.

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  4. I’m in complete agreement with you Robert about giving tRump too much credit for intelligent sophistication — he must PAY someone to think on those levels! LOL

    Great share, great post and commentary Sir.

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  5. … those of us who travel overseas, especially to war zones

    From what I read, tRump has never been to a “war zone” whereas several other presidents (Eisenhower, Roosevelt, LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Obama) have been in the middle of things — some more than once.


    We all know, of course, why tRumpky hasn’t and probably never will.

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