Carl Bernstein: ‘We’ve Never Seen Such Open Authoritarian Moves and Rhetoric’

Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein, appearing today on CNN’s Reliable Sources, told Brian Stelter, “We’ve never seen, in an American president, such open authoritarian moves and rhetoric.”

Watch courtesy of Reliable Sources:

Asked if he thought Trump’s anti-press attacks were “actually having an impact,” Bernstein responded,

“I think it’s working in the sense of playing to his base and further dividing the country. Is it working in terms of also scaring the hell out of a lot of Republicans on Capitol Hill who think he is off on a ride that is dangerous to American democracy? And are they quaking? Many of them, without speaking out? Yes.

“We are into terrible authoritarian tendencies that we are seeing in the new president of the United States. We have never seen in an American president such open authoritarian moves and rhetoric. This is a terrible time we are living in.

Look, when the press was reporting on Hillary Clinton’s server and the Clinton Foundation the same people who he is now calling enemies of the American people, Donald Trump thought we were patriots. So the hypocrisy of this aside, from the lies that underlie the president’s words, we are doing our job. That is what we are there to do.

“We need to find out all of what this president is doing, what his administration is doing, nothing more, nothing less, and that is what we are doing. We are not the enemies of the American people. We are the last resort of the American people to a dictatorial and authoritarian inclined president.”

The press, no more than the judiciary, should have to be the last resort of the American people. Congress is supposed to apply its own checks and balances and seemed more than eager to do so when they were not needed during the presidency of Barack Obama.

Now that it is a Republican president in office, the conservative agenda – denial of global warming, fossil fuel production, widespread privatization of federal agencies – all take precedence over a genuinely authoritarian and autocratic president.