While Donald Trump was gearing up to lambaste the media to his supporters at a Florida rally on Sunday, Sen. John McCain was telling NBC News’ Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” that dictators “get started by suppressing free press.”
The well-respected Arizona Republican has been a frequent critic of the new POTUS, particularly with issues involving foreign policy and national security. His continued denigration of the media has come under frequent fire from both the left and the right, as it is an essential element of a democratic society.
“I hate the press,” McCain said, joking with Todd. “I hate you, especially. But the fact is we need you. We need a free press. We must have it. It’s vital.”
But he continued, “If you want to preserve — I’m very serious now — if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and, many times, adversarial press. And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started.”
McCain went on to clarify: “They get started by suppressing free press, in other words, a consolidation of power — when you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press. 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.”
Watch the “Meet the Press” clip with Sen. McCain above.