Legendary Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein told CNN today that the departure of James Mattis as Secretary of Defense is leading Republicans in Congress to a “much greater consensus” that President Trump is thoroughly unfit for office.
Appearing on CNN‘s Reliable Sources, Bernstein attributed the growing concern among GOP legislators to a sense that Trump is “unfit on psychological grounds” in addition to disqualifying himself “because of his contempt for the law” and his “conduct of foreign policy.”
“What the Mattis letter has done in a monumental way is to push Republicans into making some real judgments. They’re talking to each other, there is coming to be a much greater consensus that he is unfit to be the President of the United States,” Bernstein reported.
Bernstein’s reading of the grumblings in congressional corridors was confirmed by the many comments that prominent Republican politicians have made since the twin bombshells revealed in the last few days of Trump’s unilateral move to withdraw troops from Syria and the Defense Secretary’s principled decision to resign in response to it.
As GOP luminaries made the rounds of the Sunday morning TV news programs today, it was difficult to argue with Bernstein’s assessment.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) told CNN‘s State of the Union that “Some devastating decisions are being made even with people giving strong input in the opposite direction,” inspiring a barrage of angry tweets from the president denouncing Corker.
Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) told NBC’s Meet The Press that the “vast majority of Republicans” oppose Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria and abandon our vulnerable Kurdish allies before ISIS is fully defeated simply because it would please Vladimir Putin of Russia and Turkey’s President Erdogan. Toomey called for a rebalancing of the power dynamic between the Senate and the White House on the international relations front.
“I think senators need to step up and reassert a bigger role for the Senate in finding our foreign policy,” Toomey said.
“I strongly disagree with this decision to withdraw prematurely, in my view, from Syria. I think senators should speak out. And look, we were elected separately from the president. We don’t report to the president. We should cooperate where we can. And where we need to disagree, we should be willing to do that,” he continued.
Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), the daughter of one of the major architects of America’s disastrous incursion into the Middle East, former Vice-President Dick Cheney, told CBS‘s Face The Nation that the Syrian troop withdrawal, as well as Trump’s planned reduction of forces in Afghanistan, “would be disastrous.”
“They would really in many ways hand victories to our enemies.… It’s a very dangerous path to go down, and we shouldn’t be going down it,” Cheney explained.
Undoubtedly, Bernstein has heard similar sentiments from other GOP leaders with queasy stomachs caused not by an excess of holiday imbibing, but by the thought of a president unrestrained by any moderating influences within his cabinet.
You can watch a clip of journalist Carl Bernstein’s appearance on CNN‘s Reliable Sources this morning in the video below.
"What the Mattis letter has done in a monumental way is to push Republicans into making some real judgments. They’re talking to each other, there is coming to be a much greater consensus that he is unfit to be the President of the United States,” @carlbernstein says of Trump. pic.twitter.com/oc0YAcZ1bz
— Reliable Sources (@ReliableSources) December 23, 2018
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Original reporting by Michael Burke at The Hill.