- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 25, 2017

CNN anchor Jake Tapper compared President Trump on Tuesday to Senator Joseph McCarthy, the late anti-Communism crusader who led a Cold War-era Washington witch hunt targeting so-called subversives.

Mr. Tapper made the connection during an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in response to Mr. Trump drawing fire this week from fellow Republicans including Tennessee Senator Bob Corker and Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake.

“I’ve been reading a lot about the ‘50s lately. And there was a period — you know, Joe McCarthy started in the late 40s, his crusade of indecency and smears and lies. And you know, President Trump and Joe McCarthy are very different historical figures, but there is something similar,” Mr. Tapper told the program’s host.

“They say, ‘History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.’ And when you read about that era, Joe McCarthy was doing indecent things and lying, for years and years, with Republican senators — and Democrats — not saying anything. And there were people like Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, and others, who stood on the Senate floor and condemned it. But mostly, people were quiet, and history looks back at that time and says, ‘Boy, what a bunch of wusses. They were wrong.’ And I think when Senator Jeff Flake today said that, you know, we’re going to — there’s going to be a reckoning. People are going to look back at this era and say, ‘What were you doing with all’ — it’s not McCarthyism, but it’s something else — ‘all this indecency and all these lies? What did do you during that time?’ It’s something I think about all the time as an interviewer, and as a broadcaster. It’s important — you know, there aren’t two sides when it comes to the truth. There’s one side: the truth.”

Mr. Flake, Arizona’s junior senator since 2013, lashed out against Mr. Trump and the “complicity” of fellow Republicans earlier Tuesday on Capitol Hill while announcing he won’t seek re-election in 2018.

“It is time for our complicity and our accommodation for the unacceptable to end,” Mr. Flake said. “There are times when we must risk our careers in favor of our principles. Now is such a time.”

“When we remain silent and fail to act … because of political considerations, because we might make enemies, because we might alienate the base,” he added, “we dishonor our principles and forsake our obligations.”

Mr. Flake, for his part, alluded to McCarthy in an op-ed published Tuesday evening in The Washington Post after “Late Show” was taped but before it aired.

“As I contemplate the Trump presidency, I cannot help but think of Joseph Welch,” Mr. Flake wrote, referring to an Army attorney who famously called out McCarthy’s “cruelty” and “recklessness” during a 1954 Senate hearing at the height of the senator’s “Red Scare” witch hunt.

“After Welch said his piece, the hearing room erupted in applause, those in attendance seemingly shocked by such bracing moral clarity in the face of a moral vandal. Someone had finally spoken up and said: Enough,” Mr. Flake wrote. “It’s time we all say: Enough.”

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