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Iran Press TV

McCain warns Trump against shutting down 'adversarial press'

Iran Press TV

Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:50AM

US Republican Senator John McCain has issued a stern warning to Donald Trump, saying the president's repeated attacks on the media "echo the language of dictators."

In an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," McCain cautioned Trump to heed the lessons of history and further added that shutting down the press was "how dictators get started."

"I hate the press. I hate you especially," McCain told NBC. "But the fact is we need you. We need a free press. We must have it. It's vital. 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."

Speaking from Germany, where he was attending the Munich Security Conference, McCain made the comments in response to Trump's recent tweet declaring the press the "enemy of the American People."

The Arizona senator argued that without a free press, "we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time."

McCain clarified that he was not calling the new president a dictator, but that attacks on journalists questioning those in power were a hallmark of autocratic governments.

Since taking office, Trump has adopted a combative stand against the mainstream media and has constantly attacked the outlets that he claims deliver "fake news."

Trump said at his marathon press conference on Thursday that his administration was the victim of false news. He reiterated the same claim while addressing a rally in Florida on Saturday.

Trump began the rally by telling the crowd that he wanted to speak "without the filter of the fake news, the dishonest media which has published one false story after another, with no sources."

The president also reiterated that he had inherited one big "mess" from his predecessor. This comes as Trump has been in the hot seat amid reports of disarray and dysfunction within his administration.

McCain, who is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is known for issuing scathing criticism of Trump and his administration.

On Friday, the top senator accused Trump of adopting a flip-flop policy and said the resignation of Michael Flynn as national security adviser over his improper contacts with the Russian ambassador showed that the new administration was in "disarray."

McCain also accused Trump of making some statements and later contradicting them himself.

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