It was revealed that outgoing Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is set to deliver a speech comparing President Trump to Soviet butcher Joseph Stalin. Today, that speech — and accompanying video — came out.
Here's a portion of the video in question:
He says, "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."
On Monday, the Arizona senator tweeted: "There is no comparison between POTUS & Stalin. Stalin was a maniacal killer. The point I will try to make in my speech is POTUS should not use a phrase so associated with Stalin like “enemy of the people” to describe our free press."
Does the senator understand suggesting Trump's rhetoric mirrors that of Joseph Stalin implies he's making the comparison between the two?
Stalin used the press, unburdened by facts, to create an enclosed atmosphere where paranoid fantasy had to be accepted as reality. He gaslighted his victims, and an entire nation, besides. There was seemingly no way out. (Pravda means truth in Russian, and the name of the other Soviet leading paper, Izvestia, means news; as the old joke had it, there was no truth in Pravda and no news in Izvestia.)
Trump doesn't have a cozy relationship with the press nor does he manipulate them in a state-run fashion as Stalin did. Neither does he imprison, torture, or kill his political opponents like Stalin did. You may not like his governing style or brazen use of Twitter, but Trump's no Stalin. Not in the slightest. Stop with this nonsense once and for all.
Most rational people—even those critical of Trump's policies—find this comparison in poor taste and insulting to the memories of those oppressed and killed by Stalin. I'm one of those people. My maternal grandpa survived 18 months in one of Stalin's gulags on the Russian-Finnish border. He was timid and scarred for life until his death in 1999 because of the torture he endured in that wretched place. Flake insults the memories of victims and survivors like my grandpa by insinuating Trump is like Stalin. Shame on you, Senator.
You know who mirrors Joseph Stalin today? North Korean bully Kim Jun Un, Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro, and Russian oligarch President Vladimir Putin, who routinely glorifies Stalin's memory. Get your priorities straight, Senator Flake.
Trump Derangement Syndrome has debilitating consequences, and even those who constructively criticize Trump have had enough of the illusory comparisons. Let's get back to serious dialogue and not political grandstanding, please.