Carl Bernstein Says Trump’s Acceptance Speech Created an America “At Odds With Fact”

Last updated on July 17th, 2023 at 07:14 pm

Investigative journalist and author Carl Bernstein, who along with Bob Woodward, uncovered the Watergate scandal, told CNN’s Alyson Camerota that Donald Trump’s acceptance speech was “terrifying.” He joins an already long list of journalists and analysts who have criticized the Republican nominee.

Watch courtesy of Media Matters for America:

ALISYN CAMEROTA (HOST): What were your impressions, Carl, last night of Donald Trump’s speech?
CARL BERNSTEIN: I think both the speech and the convention were probably very effective for Donald Trump. It was a terrifying speech, a dark vision of America, and what we have seen in this convention and that speech is a mythical America that does not really exist —
CAMEROTA: Meaning?
BERNSTEIN: Let me just say and a mythical Donald Trump who does not really exist. The master builder, very much at odds with the pictures we’ve seen of Trump as somebody who fleeces people in Trump University, et cetera. So the Democrats and Hillary Clinton now have a terrible task at dismantling this mythology that this convention and speech have created. And she’s a weak messenger.
CAMEROTA: But in terms of the vision that you say of America that doesn’t exist, it’s not as bleak?
BERNSTEIN: Not as bleak, it’s not existentially correct. It’s not borne out by either facts. We are not a nation in which thousands and thousands of citizens are murdering each other daily. We are not under siege from terrorists at home every other day on a scale as implied in this speech. This was a speech intended to instill fear and terrify people and create a vision of America, such as Rudy Giuliani did in his speech, that simply is at odds with fact and at the same time plays into the real fears. One of the things Trump has done so effectively is to identify why and which institutions in this country are not working and that the elites indeed have not served the people of this country. It all fits together well as a package.

While Bernstein is right about a great many things, he himself fell victim to conservative talking points when he claimed that “Democrats and Hillary Clinton now have a terrible task at dismantling this mythology that this convention and speech have created. And she’s a weak messenger.”

The task of “dismantling [Trump’s] mythology” may, as he says, not be an easy one (as Paul Krugman said, the Republican base won’t be dissuaded by anything Trump says) but Hillary Clinton has proven herself to be anything but a weak messenger.

Bernstein also ignores the fact that Trump is his own worst enemy. He has a base salivating for a Trump dictatorship, but he has alienated everyone but angry white people and evangelicals (and even some of them), including blacks, Latinos, Muslims, women, and millennials. Trump sends a strong message, but its sweetly cloying rot is one for which only white supremacists hunger.

Hrafnkell Haraldsson

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