Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) said on NBC/MSNBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday that a politician going to war against the press is “how dictators get started.” This is not the first time he has disagreed with the president, this comment is the most recent, however.
“I hate the press. I hate you especially,” McCain said jokingly. “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,” McCain said. “And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started.”
He elaborated that he was not implying that Donald Trump is trying to become a dictator. He made the remarks when talking about post-World War II and America’s role in it.
“They get started by suppressing free press,” McCain said on dictators. “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.”
the senator was also asked about inquiries in congress for investigating Russia’s role in interfering with the 2016 presidential election, and the extent of Michael Flynn’s contact with the Russian ambassador before the presidential inauguration.
“Can be Americans be confident that a Republican-controlled Congress can investigate this president thoroughly if necessary?” Host Chuck Todd asked the senator.
“I hope so. And I have to believe so.” McCain then added, “More hope than belief.”
When asked how much confidence he had in Trump’s ability as commander-in-chief, he expressed doubt. “I worry about the president’s understanding of some of these issues and his contradictory articulations. And I think the rollout of the, quote, immigration reform was an example of a need for an orderly decision-making process in the White House,” McCain said.
The senator was also worried about a comment by Trump on Fox News’ Bill O’ Reilly in which he challenged O’Reilly’s remark that Putin is a killer. The president countered that comment by saying that we are not innocent either.
After expressing doubts, the senator later affirmed his support of Trump, saying “I think we should give the president the benefit of the doubt. But at the same time, we have our responsibilities of advise and consent.”