Axelrod Knocks Flake Over Comparing Trump to Stalin: Is That an ‘Appropriate Analogy?’

David Axelrod / Getty

Former Barack Obama adviser David Axelrod on Tuesday took an implicit shot at Sen. Jeff Flake's (R., Ariz.) comparison of President Donald Trump to murderous Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, tweeting that it was an example of the president making his critics as hyperbolic as him.

A strong critic of Trump over his personal conduct and views, Flake is set to deliver a speech from the Senate floor on Wednesday that will liken the president's attack on the media as an "enemy" of the American people to Stalinist methods.

Axelrod didn't name Flake, but he tweeted, "I've been as critical as anyone of this @POTUS for his authoritarian impulses, including his war on an independent and probing news media. But Stalin was a mass murderer of epic proportions. Is that really the appropriate analogy?"

He added in a follow-up, "One of the dangers of @realDonaldTrump is that he prods his critics to become as hyperbolic as he is."

Since the news of his Senate speech came out, Flake has sought to clarify his stance about Trump, saying he is no way specifically comparing the two men.

"I am in no way comparing President Trump to Joseph Stalin," Flake told CNN host Christiane Amanpour on Monday. "Joseph Stalin was a killer. Our president is not. But it just puzzles me as to why you'd use a phrase that is so loaded and that has such deeper meaning, the press being the enemy of the people."

Flake announced in October he would not seek re-election this year because he felt he could not win the GOP nomination due to the direction of the party.