DES MOINES, Iowa -- President Trump kicked off 2018 with a tweet saying he would be announcing awards for the "most dishonest and corrupt media," and although the awards have not yet been handed out, his criticism of what he calls intentional fake news has not lessened.
The ongoing battle between the administration and the media is turning off some Republicans. Outgoing Arizona Senator Jeff Flake says the attacks put the president on the wrong side of history.
"The enemy of the people was how the president of the United States called the free press in 2017," he said. "Mr. President, 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. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase enemy of the people, that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use."
The Trump administration was quick to fire back against Senator Flake and defends its relationship with the media.
"He's criticizing the president because he has terrible poll numbers and he is, I think, looking for some attention," said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. "I think it's unfortunate. And certainly I think our position here at the White House is that we welcome access to the media every day. I'm standing right here taking questions, the president does so regularly, and to act as if we're anything but open to that back and forth exchange is utterly ridiculous."