A retired four-star US Army general has compared President Donald Trump to fascist leader Benito Mussolini after Trump’s crackdown on two Democratic-leaning news outlets.
Barry McCaffrey, who led the national drug policy under Bill Clinton and is currently a political commentator, tweeted on Saturday: “The White House Trump statement telling the entire Federal Government to terminate subscriptions to the NYT and Wash Post is a watershed moment in national history. No room for HUMOROUS media coverage. This is deadly serious. This is Mussolini.”
Benito Mussolini was the fascist leader who ruled Italy between 1922 and 1943, before being overthrown by members of his own government. He was captured and executed by communist partisans in the last days of World War II in Europe, in which he allied himself with Adolf Hitler, while attempting to flee to Switzerland.
In other tweets, McCaffrey questioned the ability of the government to “ban the executive branch from reading publications that contain information they disagree with” and described it as “1930’s stuff”.
Can the White House ban the executive branch from reading publications that contain information they disagree with? How about any information dealing with global warming? Stem cell research? How about Foreign Affairs magazine? Ban books Federal libraries?— Barry R McCaffrey (@mccaffreyr3) October 26, 2019
Although CNN appears to be Trump’s nemesis among the press, he also mocks both the New York Times and Washington Post on a regular basis, referring to the former as "failing" and labelling the latter the “Amazon Washington Post.” Trump has long accused the WaPo, which belongs to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, of lobbying on behalf of its billionaire owner — something the newspaper denies.
The White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement on Thursday that the subscriptions of all federal agencies to both titles will not be renewed in order to save “hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.” It is unclear how many subscriptions the agencies had.
The decision only applies to print editions, as both provide free digital subscriptions to anyone with .gov and .mil email addresses.
In a separate development, the Pentagon on Friday awarded the coveted $10-billion JEDI cloud-computing contract to Microsoft, following several rounds of a hotly-contested bidding process in which Amazon was believed to be the front-runner. The Bezos-owned ecommerce giant said it was “surprised” by that decision.