As President Donald Trump on Wednesday continued attacking the free press as "bad for the country" and spreading hysterical lies about virtually non-existent voter fraud—for example, he claimed without evidence that Republicans lose because too many people vote, change their outfits, and then vote again—Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) argued on Twitter that "authoritarian" is the only way to describe the president.
"Trump describes the free media as an 'enemy of the people'; attacks leaders of democratic countries while cozying up to authoritarian nations; and now uses his influence to try to stop the counting of votes in Florida and Georgia," Sanders wrote, referring to the president's demand earlier this week that Florida immediately end its legally required recount and declare the GOP candidates he endorsed the winners.
"There is only one way to describe him: Authoritarian," the Vermont senator added.
Trump describes the free media as an "enemy of the people"; attacks leaders of democratic countries while cozying up to authoritarian nations; and now uses his influence to try to stop the counting of votes in FL and GA.
There is only one way to describe him: Authoritarian.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 14, 2018
Sanders' denunciation of the president's anti-democratic rhetoric came as Trump's Justice Department argued in a court filing on Wednesday that the White House has broad power to decide which journalists are and aren't granted press credentials.
The filing was in response to CNN's lawsuit on Monday accusing the White House of violating the First and Fifth Amendments by revoking reporter Jim Acosta's press pass. Over a dozen prominent news outlets—including fervently pro-Trump Fox News—reportedly plan to file briefs in support of CNN's suit.
In an interview with the right-wing Daily Caller on Wednesday, Trump said he doesn't know whether the White House will defeat CNN's suit but continued attacking Acosta and asked: "Is it freedom of the press when somebody comes in and starts screaming questions and won't sit down?"
In the same Daily Caller interview, Trump continued to float bizarre and fact-free claims about voter fraud in an effort to bolster his call for an end to recounts in Florida and Georgia, where Democratic candidates are quickly closing in the Republican frontrunners as more overseas and provisional ballots are counted.
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"The Republicans don't win and that's because of potentially illegal votes," Trump claimed without evidence. "When people get in line that have absolutely no right to vote and they go around in circles. Sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in, and vote again. Nobody takes anything. It's really a disgrace what's going on."
In response to Trump's latest "voter fraud" lie, the ACLU declared: "The real threat to our democracy is those who would discourage participation through the myth of voter fraud."
There is no evidence to support the President's claims.
The real threat to our democracy is those who would discourage participation through the myth of voter fraud. https://t.co/Tw5fRaDLGO
— ACLU (@ACLU) November 14, 2018
Attempting to argue in support of strict voter ID laws, Trump provoked ridicule by suggesting that identification is required to buy cereal.
"If you buy a box of cereal—you have a voter ID," Trump said.
The ACLU had a response to this patently nonsensical claim as well:
Millions of U.S. citizens do not have government-issued photo identification, particularly voters of color. Voter identification laws are a part of an ongoing strategy to roll back decades of progress on voting rights.
Also, you don't need an ID to buy cereal. https://t.co/TnESjCZGmo
— ACLU (@ACLU) November 14, 2018