Tuesday on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time,” veteran journalist Carl Bernstein called on Republican lawmakers led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to demand President Donald Trump resigns to save Americans’ lives in the coronavirus pandemic.
Partial transcript as follows:
CUOMO: We believe Fauci. We believe Operation Warp Speed. We believe that they have all-star science team and they’re moving this along, that the government putting billions of dollars behind it will help speed it up because they’re going to put it in the production, assuming it will work. That’s all true as far as we know. But what do you think the stretch play is here politically?
BERNSTEIN: I think we have to recognize that we have a national emergency unlike anything in our history. That national emergency is that we have a president of the United States who is demonstrably unfit, incompetent, not honest, and not capable of dealing with this horrible situation. We need a political and cultural protector in this country between now and Election Day from the president of the United States and his recklessness. People are dead because of his recklessness.
We need the political system to respond, which means Republicans particularly, because the Republicans on Capitol Hill as well as those who left the White House, they know he is not a stable individual. They have told dozens of people, they believe the president of the United States is out of control, that he is not fit to be the president of the United States. We need to be protected from this president so that we can be protected from COVID.
CUOMO: One question about inside the box, one question outside the box. Inside the box, what is the explanation, as best as you can get, Carl, about why he refuses to do what would be politically obvious to you and me, which is own this and say, I gave the states long enough, I’m all in, we can do the testing, six to eight weeks? There’s plenty of time before the election to show a demonstrable change like what they’re seeing in the U.K. right now. What do you hear about inside why he thinks ignoring this works?
BERNSTEIN: Because everything is about the base, as he calls it, and getting the base to somehow re-elect him or get him close enough to reelection that he can then put into authoritarian practice, some kind of mechanism that will allow him to hold on to power, perhaps throw the election into the House of Representatives, which indeed is being talked about in the White House.
You have to remember that the day before the president finally said, well, people should be wearing masks, the epidemiologist came to the president of the United States — and I know this from people in the White House — and said, Mr. President, this is beyond a national emergency. This situation is on fire. You must act but this cannot be contained right now because it is out of control.
His message has not been this is out of control. He has been told by those closest to him. But what we see is that once again, as throughout his presidency, he has no ability or interest in the welfare of the United States as a people, as an entity. And he’s much more interested, for instance, when you look at relations with Vladimir Putin of Russia. He’s much more interested in showing what a tough guy he is to Putin than solving the greatest problem that a United States president has faced at home in generations.
We are in need of action by the political system and Republicans on Capitol Hill, including the craven Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell understands that this president is not capable of being a fit president of the United States. And it is time, as happened in the Nixon presidency, what happened in the Nixon presidency? A group of Republicans led by the great conservative Barry Goldwater and by the minority leader of the House and by the republican leadership marched to the White House and said to Richard Nixon, you are unfit to remain in office, you must leave the presidency, and we will no longer support you. Something similar has got to happen in some kind of conscience rendering by Republicans to save us and to save lives in this country.
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