White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded to Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) who compared President Trump’s hostile treatment of the media to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin on the Senate floor earlier today.
“He’s not criticizing the president because he’s against oppression, he’s criticizing the president because he has terrible poll numbers and he is, I think, looking for some attention. I think it’s unfortunate,” said Sanders.
“We welcome access to the media every day,” she added. “To act as if we’re anything but open to that back and forth exchange is utterly ridiculous.”
In her response, Sanders also brushed aside a question about Trump’s now much-anticipated “fake news awards,” telling reporters that the White House would have something on that “later today.”
In addition to his Stalin comparison, Flake reaffirmed the importance of the Russia investigation of meddling in the 2016 election and defended the need for a robust free press.
“It is past time to stop excusing, or ignoring, or worse, endorsing these attacks on the truth,” said Flake. “For if we compromise the truth for the sake of our politics, we are lost.”
Flake’s speech, however, was widely panned online, with Pro-Trump Republicans blasting Flake as a turncoat, and Democrats saying his words didn’t erase his consistently pro-Trump voting record.