SALT LAKE CITY — As President Donald Trump's critics call him a threat to democracy in the wake of the Mueller report, a Utah senator says Trump has done more to restore freedom than any chief executive in recent history.
"I think they're engaged in paranoid fantasy," Sen. Mike Lee said Thursday night on Fox News. "There isn't a single shred of truth to what they’re saying."
Lee earlier said it's time to move on from special counsel Robert Mueller's report that found Trump did not collude with Russia to interfere in the 2016 president election.
Former Republican Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, who is challenging Trump for the 2020 GOP presidential nomination, said he fears the president is becoming a tyrant. He has called for Trump to resign.
In a political ad, newly declared Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called Trump a threat to the nation unlike any he has seen in his lifetime.
Lee said the real threat to liberty is the power Congress has "excessively" delegated to the executive branch the past 80 years. That, he said, is not Trump's fault.
"This was true decades before Donald Trump ever came down on that escalator. This is not his problem. It’s Congress' problem," the senator said.
Lee, the author of a new book titled "Our Lost Declaration: America's Fight Against Tyranny From King George to the Deep State," has long banged the drum for reducing executive power.
"Call it the bureaucracy, call it the Deep State, call it whatever you want, but Congress created this threat to our liberty," he said in a Facebook post Friday.
Trump's critics, Lee said, are wrong to say he is a threat to liberty. Americans, he said, have more freedom today that they did the day before Trump took office. He said the administration has removed two regulations for every one that it has issued.
"This president has done more to restore liberty than any president in recent history. We should be grateful for that," Lee said, adding that, again, the finger should be pointed at Congress for relinquishing power.114 comments on this story
Presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a recent speech that Trump is intent on emulating leaders of Russia, China, North Korea and Saudi Arabia.
"I can’t think of single example of where he has done that," he said.
Being willing to engage in an open dialog with foreign leaders doesn't represent a threat to liberty, Lee said. A president, he said, should be praised when he wants to reach out and make sure he doesn't insult foreign leaders.
"We shouldn't be denigrating him for trying to do that, for trying to make our foreign relations better," Lee said.