Top Democrat says Trump is 'more comfortable with autocrats and dictators' than democracy in House speech

World

California Democrat Adam Schiff described Donald Trump as a “president more comfortable with autocrats and dictators” than “Democrats and democracy” during a speech on the House floor.

The ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee repeatedly called on his Republican colleagues to “wake up” during a five minute speech discussing the apparent global rise of authoritarianism.

“When you look around the world, you must conclude objectively that the autocrats are on the rise in places like Poland and in Hungary, and the rise of the far-right parties in Germany, Austria and France,” he said. “It cannot be said that an Iron Curtain is descending but there is a rising tide of authoritarianism that threatens to submerge some of the great capital around the world.”

Mr Schiff, who has been a frequent critic of the president, said President Trump was contributing to a decline in American leadership worldwide. 

“This is a terrible tragedy for us, it is a bigger tragedy for the rest of the world,” Mr Schiff said. “America is not sleeping, but one of its great parties is. As John Boehner said recently, the Republican Party is off taking a nap somewhere. Wake up. Freedom-loving people all around the world are looking to us. Wake up.”

The congressman’s comments came a day after Mr Trump met with Nato allies and attacked them for not contributing as much money as he’d like towards the global alliance organisation. 

Mr Trump described longstanding allies like Germany as being “delinquent” in their payments to Nato for years, spurring German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to defend the alliance and other nations’ contributions to the organisation. 

The comments received swift backlash from elected officials on both sides of the aisle, including John McCain, who described the insults as “misstatements and bluster.” 

“President Trump’s performance at the Nato summit in Brussels was disappointing, yet ultimately unsurprising,” he said in a statement. “There is little use in parsing the president’s misstatements and bluster, except to say that they are the words of one man. Americans, and their Congress, still believe in the transatlantic alliance and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and it is clear that our allies still believe in us as well.”

But Mr Schiff took his rebuke a step further, warning Republicans they were complicit to a potentially destructive White House administration.

“Our democracy is at risk at home, and the very idea of liberal democracy is at risk around the world,” he said. “Wake up.”

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