President Trump held a rally yesterday in Orlando, Florida in support of his policies after he faced criticism during the past week over his appointment of national security advisor Michael Flynn whom he fired last week related to his pre-inauguration conversations with a Russian ambassador and his other candidate for Department of Labor, Andrew Puzder, failed to garner enough support for Senate confirmation.
Trump held a press conference earlier in the week on Thursday that contained anti-press overtones, a familiar theme for the President who often views the press as the enemy for his presidency and recently claimed the press is not just his own nemesis but also the “enemy of the American people.”
Trump called the FAKE NEWS media “the enemy of the American People!” in a Friday tweet.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017
Trump has often been called “thin skinned” and spends more time than other past U.S. presidents bashing the press and labeling them as dishonest and “fake news.”
Trump’s White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was a former executive at Breitbart News, a known platform for the alt-right movement.
Arizona Republican Senator John McCain attended the Munich Security Conference on Friday where Trump’s America First platform has raised some concerns across Europe during a time when Europeans are still dealing with the after shocks of Britain’s Brexit vote amid the rise of some nationalistic movements that are seeking further separation from Brussels.
Senator McCain is Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and is a leading Republican critic of President Trump’s strategy to blame the press for America’s problems when it serves his own self-interest.
Senator McCain likened Trump’s antagonistic tactic of driving a wedge between Americans and the media as “how dictators got started” when speaking with NBC’s Meet the Press host Chuck Todd.
“When you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press. And I am not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I’m just saying that we need to learn the lessons of history” McCain said.
“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’m afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time” McCain said.
During a speech at the Munich Conference on Friday, Senator McCain spoke about the need for the West to survive by defending universal laws, open commerce, and respect for national sovereignty.
“The unprecedented period of security and prosperity that we have enjoyed for the past seven decades did not happen by accident. It happened not only because of the appeal of our values, but because we backed them with our power and persevered in their defense” McCain said in Munich.
Senator McCain addressed in his speech the rising European concerns that America is “laying down the mantle of global leadership.”
Senator McCain explained that he and the other U.S. leaders attending the security conference in Munich are still committed to global leadership.
“I can only speak for myself, but I do not believe that is the message you will hear from all of the American leaders who cared enough to travel here to Munich this weekend. That is not the message you heard today from Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. That is not the message you will hear from Vice President Mike Pence. That is not the message you will hear from Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly. And that is certainly not the message you will hear tomorrow from our bipartisan congressional delegation” McCain said.