Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is retiring soon, but not before he gets some last digs in at President Trump.
We first gauged Flake's distaste for the 45th president when we learned he had written a book called Conscience of a Conservative. In it, he credited people like Trump for jeopardizing the GOP's morals.
He also criticized his fellow Republicans for not speaking out against Trump's Twitter rhetoric.
"There are times when you have to stand up and say, 'I'm sorry. This is wrong,'" Flake said.
Trump gave it right back to the senator, getting a crowd of Arizonans to boo and hiss Flake for being "weak on borders."
Flake has taken his condemnation of Trump to a whole new level. Over the weekend, Flake likened Trump's rhetoric against the media to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
"I'm saying he borrowed that phrase," Flake told MSNBC's Kasie Hunt of Trump's choice of words. "It was popularized by Josef Stalin, used by Mao as well — enemy of the people. It should be noted that Nikita Khrushchev who followed Stalin, forbade its use, saying that was too loaded and that it maligned a whole group or class of people, and it shouldn't be done.
"I don't think that we should be using a phrase that's been rejected as too loaded by a Soviet dictator." (Politico)
Despite what it sounded like, Flake insists he is not comparing Trump to Stalin.
"Joseph Stalin was a killer," he said. "Our president is not. But it just puzzles me as to why you'd use a phrase that is so loaded and that has such deeper meaning, the press being the enemy of the people."
Yet, in Flake's full speech on Trump's attack on the media Wednesday on the Senate floor, the same day the president is expected to hand out his Fake News Media awards, the senator again uttered the Soviet dictator's name.
Sen. Jeff Flake calls Pres. Trump's attacks on the press "unprecedented" and "unwarranted": "It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies." pic.twitter.com/sSZOQZdjoN— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 17, 2018
Trump's words have “inspired dictators and authoritarians," Flake added.
"No politician will ever get to tell us what the truth is and is not," Flake warned. "And anyone who presumes to try to attack or manipulate the truth to his own purposes should be made to realize the mistake and be held to account."
Trump may like to tangle with the press, but even placing him in the same sentence as Stalin is a bit much. As such, Trump has found himself an unlikely defender in former Obama advisor David Axelrod.
I’ve been as critical as anyone of this @POTUS for his authoritarian impulses, including his war on an independent and probing news media. But Stalin was a mass murderer of epic proportions. Is that really the appropriate analogy?— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) January 16, 2018
Trump's language is a bit fiery, but Stalin is estimated to have killed 20 million of his own people with his cruel, communist policies.