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Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks during the Munich Security Conference in Munich, southern Germany, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. The annual weekend gathering is known for providing an open and informal platform to meet in close quarters. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

John McCain said Trump calling the press 'the enemy' is 'how dictators get started'

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was among many who criticized President Trump for calling the news media the "enemy of the American people" on Twitter on Friday.

"That's how dictators get started," McCain said in an interview set to air on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. 

McCain has repeatedly criticized Trump, particularly what he perceives as being too soft on Russia

Here's the Trump tweet that McCain referred to.

And here's McCain's response.

I hate the press. I hate you, especially. But the fact is, we need you. We need a free press.
John McCain, to NBC's Chuck Todd

McCain said that while he "hated" host Chuck Todd, a free press was necessary.

He did not go so far as to call Trump a dictator, but said "we need to learn the lessons of history."

Trump's tweet prompted #NotTheEnemy to trend on Twitter as journalists shared  stories.

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