Veteran newsman Carl Bernstein warned that Americans and the media seem too focused on the Russia investigation being similar to Watergate and they should be comparing President Donald Trump to former Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI).
“People keep looking, and I’m asked all the time, how is that like Watergate,” Bernstein told CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota. “Watergate is not the analogy. The real analogy is Joe McCarthy and Donald Trump.”
Bernstein explained that McCarthy’s knack for smearing American institutions for political gain is remarkably similar to what Trump has been doing since the start of his campaign.
“McCarthy smeared the Department of the Army, smeared the United States Information Agency, the voice of America,” Bernstein said. “He accused people of treason, exactly like Donald Trump did the other day. It’s not an accident that McCarthy’s hand maiden and enabler was Roy Cohen. We heard the other day Donald Trump speak of his mentor, Roy Cohen: ‘Where is my Roy Cohen?'”
Bernstein noted it is an important moment for the press to look at history.
“We need to look at history. We need to look at the last great authoritarian demagogue in this country, who is Joe McCarthy, and see if I’m right, this is true, that Donald Trump mimics, reembodies to a large extent the tactics, techniques and methodology of Joe McCarthy,” he continued. “The constant smears of immigrants, of Mexicans, those he opposes, the belittling of them, little this, little him. Look at the clips of Joe McCarthy.”
Cuomo noted that the press also needs to call Republicans out on using McCarthy-like language about a “secret court” or a “secret warrant,” when it was a legislative body and the FISA court involved. The four FISA judges were hand-selected by far-right Chief Justice John Roberts.
“You’ve got to call it out, Carl,” Cuomo argued.
Bernstein seemed to be content with the media simply reporting the facts.
“We don’t need to engage every time the president does something or his lackeys or acolytes do something,” Bernstein continued. “We don’t need to turn it into the biggest issue. What is the real issue here? The real issue is the conduct of the president of the United States, his family, his business associates, his business organization and the conduct of the Russians in the election. We have a legitimate investigation. Let it proceed, the Mueller investigation.”
He went on to ask why Trump is trying to cover up or impede special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and follow it up with McCarthy-like tactics.
“The difference between McCarthy and Donald Trump, McCarthy was a senator,” Bernstein said. “We never had a president of the United States who was an authoritarian demagogue before, who issues these kind of smears and lies daily. This is extraordinary. We need to look at it as a country. We need to look at our history. Let’s see what McCarthy looked like and put up the video next to Donald Trump.”
The far-right has been attempting to rewrite history about McCarthy and paint him as a dedicated American attempting to protect the U.S.
Watch the full exchange below: