Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona issued a harsh statement against the political climate in the U.S., drawing parallels to several of President Donald Trump's statements and policies and warning that blurring the lines between truth and fiction has deadly consequences.
McCain did not mention the president by name, but instead spoke of Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist and other members of the 1944 attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler, notes The Hill.
"What would von Kleist's generation say if they saw our world today?" McCain said at the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 17. "They would be alarmed by an increasing turn away from universal values and toward old ties of blood, and race, and sectarianism. They would be alarmed by the hardening resentment we see toward immigrants, and refugees, and minority groups, especially Muslims."
The former Republican presidential candidate went on to say that people in the U.S. and abroad "are giving up on the West," but warned against chalking Western civilization up "as a bad deal that we may be better off without," according to The Washington Post.
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"While Western nations still have the power to maintain our world order, it's unclear whether we have the will," McCain added.
Part of the reason for this decline, the decorated war hero said, is the willful spreading of misinformation
"[Kleist's generation] would be alarmed by the growing inability, and even unwillingness, to separate truth from lies," said McCain, according to The Hill. "They would be alarmed that more and more of our fellow citizens seem to be flirting with authoritarianism and romanticizing it as our moral equivalent."
The senator's comments come a day after Trump spoke extensively at a press conference about the media, eliciting concerns from critics who say he aims to silence reports that convey unflattering information about him in an age of "alternative facts."
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"The press has become so dishonest that if we don't talk about it, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people," Trump said at the Feb. 16 news conference. "The press is out of control, the dishonesty is out of control."