Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Carl Bernstein described the Trump administration as “unlike anything I have seen in 50 years in Washington” while reporting that Republicans are privately assessing President Donald Trump as unfit for office.
“What there is a sense of, people I talk to in the White House and Republicans on Capitol Hill, is that the wheels are coming off this presidency,” Bernstein told CNN New Day anchors Poppy Harlow and Chris Cuomo.
“In the White House, there is an attempt by those closest to the President — especially [Chief of Staff John] Kelly, especially the military leaders — to try to constrain the president from his own inclinations to say wild things, to act irresponsibly. It’s almost as if there’s a protectorate around the President,” explained Bernstein, who authored All the President’s Men with Bob Woodward.
“He’s constantly complaining, going into rages about the investigation, about disloyalty among his aides,” Bernstein noted. “It’s an extraordinary situation. Unlike anything I have seen in 50 years in Washington.”
Bernstein said the “big story right now” is Republican members of congress and military leaders and the intelligence community, “many of them have lost confidence in this president.”
“They doubt his fitness to be president, they doubt his competence, they’re worried that he has to be restrained and constrained by these military leaders,” Bernstein explained.
Bernstein was also alarmed by the degree of control the military holds over the weak president.
“Remember, George Washington resigned his commission so we could have civilian control of the military, and now we have military control of the presidency,” Bernstein suggested. “This is not quite what our system was meant to do.”
Highlighting his point, Bernstein slammed Donald Trump by suggesting, “this president is the president of his base.”
“Our allies are dismayed by the conduct of this president,” Bernstein reported.
“We’ve never seen this kind of chaos in a presidency before,” Bernstein concluded. “This is different because it goes to the character and competence — a feeling that the president of the United States, including among those on the White House staff, may be unfit to hold the office.”
Bernstein claimed that in private, Republicans on Capitol Hill admit, “we are in a dangerous situation in this country.”
“They are worried that we have a president of the United States who is really not stable in terms of the occupying the office and exercising the powers of the presidency,” Bernstein explained. “It is an extraordinary situation and that’s the real story.”