McCain defends the media in NBC interview

In an interview on NBC airing on Sunday, Senator John McCain defended the media, saying “we need a free press, we must have it.”

In an interview with NBC News' Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” the Republican senator was asked to respond to President Trump’s tweet on Friday where he called many media outlets “the enemy of the American people.”

McCain said that in order to “preserve democracy” you must have a free press. He says that without it he’s “afraid we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time.”

“That’s how dictators get started,” McCain added in a clip of the interview released on Saturday.

“They get started by suppressing free press,” the Senator responded asked if he was referring to Trump’s tweet.

McCain added that “the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press.”

“I’m not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator, I’m just saying we need to learn the lessons of history,” McCain said in the NBC interview.

McCain’s defense of the media comes after recent comments from Trump, calling specific media outlets, “fake news.”

In a rally on Saturday in Florida, Trump attacked the news media for unfavorable stories saying that it was “a big part of the problem” toward in helping to  “make America great again.”

Trump told the crowd that he wanted to speak "without the filter of the fake news."

Alyssa Madruga is a news editor for Follow her on Twitter @AlyssaMadruga.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.