McCain says free press is essential to a healthy democracy, Kasich also weighs in

US-Senator John McCain speaks at the Munich Security Conference 2017 in Munich, Germany, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. The Munich Security Conference takes place from 17 to 19 February 2017. (Sven Hoppe/dpa via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. John McCain says a free press is vital “to preserve democracy as we know it.” And he cautions about efforts to muzzle a free press, saying “that’s how dictators get started.”

The Arizona senator was asked in an interview for NBC’s “Meet the Press” how he felt about President Donald Trump’s tweet criticizing “the fake news media” that said “it is the enemy of the American people.”

After joking with host Chuck Todd, McCain said,” ”The fact is we need you.”

He adds: “When you look at history, the first thing dictators do is shut down the press.”

McCain says he isn’t saying President Trump is trying to be a dictator but “we need to learn the lessons of history.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich also weighed in, speaking from Munich on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

“…I think the comments of Angela Merkel, really the gist of what John McCain is saying, and what I have said to the press in Ohio and around the country and here in Munich is ‘thank God you’re there. You’re there to hold people accountable.’ Without a free press…well, we’re going to have a free press…while I don’t always agree with the reporting of the press, they’re vital. They’re really such an important part of democracy.”

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