Bernstein: Trump’s ‘Dereliction’ Has ‘Ignited’ America’s Cold Civil War

Sunday on CNN, veteran reporter Carl Bernstein accused President Donald Trump of “igniting” America’s “cold civil war.”

When asked why he has said we are in a presidential crisis that’s much worse than Watergate, Bernstein said, “Because the president of the United States, instead of putting the national interests above self-interest, has chosen self-interest at every turn, including his re-election prospects, instead of the well-being of the people of this country, of the civil comity of this country, of maintaining the social compact, of exercising leadership. We know that race and racial division has been an issue in this country since its founding, and he has done nothing but fan the flames throughout his presidency. But you really have to look at here is there is a cold civil war that proceeds Donald Trump’s election. It’s been going on 10, 15, 20 years but Trump has pushed that cold civil war to the point of ignition at every turn in his three years, and now he has put fuel on the fire, in the pandemic, in the response to the murder of this black citizen. And now we have a situation where the cold civil war has now been ignited by the dereliction of the president of the United States. He is fanning the flames. He is not bringing us together.”

He continued, “He has lost his credibility by trying to divide this country at every turn since he became president. And who has been the victim more often than not, as he has divided us, it has been people of color. It has been immigrants. It has been those who find it most difficult to help themselves. And his response to them is to go to his political base and fan these flames that I referred to before. This is a time that other presidents, whether it’s FDR, whether it’s Lincoln, whether it’s Washington, the three greatest presidents by general consensus, they knew how to pull this country together. Here we have a pandemic, unprecedented in our history, 100,000 dead, and throughout, the president has been going after his political enemies, saying that he doesn’t bear any responsibility, trying to justify his own absolute – let me use that word again, dereliction, because he was asleep at the switch for two months.”

He added, “And again, those who have been most victimized by the pandemic have been people of color disproportionately. So it goes back to these basic problems. Never forget that Donald Trump, as head of the Trump organization, was hauled by the Justice Department, his organization, for refusing to rent to black people, as late as 1973. In a long series, he opposed what the Justice Department did. It was kind of inconclusive. But there’s no question, he practiced discrimination against black people, against African-Americans. So it’s very difficult for him to get up and use the bully pulpit of the presidency of the United States in a way to now heal us. But he ought to take a try at it because we are in a terrible situation right now. And one other thing, Lyndon Johnson, when the country was divided, and he was the issue, he decided not to run for re-election. Now, I don’t think that’s going to happen here, but it sure would be something if some Republican leaders went to this president and said Mr. President, maybe you shouldn’t run for re-election, especially because you might lose. Maybe you would do well not to run- a little far fetched.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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