Watergate reporter argues the Trump tapes are 'even graver' than the Nixon tapes

Watergate reporter argues the Trump tapes are 'even graver' than the Nixon tapes

President Donald Trump, in defense of his response to the coronavirus pandemic, has claimed that back in January and February, no one could have known how deadly COVID-19 would become in the United States. But on Wednesday, major media outlets reported that veteran journalist/author Bob Woodward reveals — in his new book, “Rage,” due out September 15 — that Trump acknowledged how “deadly” COVID-19’s potential was when they spoke on February 7. Publicly, Trump was saying that COVID-19 didn’t pose a major to the United States, but inside the White House, he acknowledged that the worst health crisis in over 100 years was coming about. And another veteran journalist, Carl Bernstein, discussed Woodward’s bombshell revelations during a Wednesday appearance on CNN.

Bernstein knows Woodward quite well: the two of them joined forces at the Washington Post in the 1970s for their historic reporting on the Watergate scandal and Richard Nixon’s troubled presidency. Bernstein, now 76, told CNN host Brianna Keillar that the revelations in “Rage” are even more damning than the Nixon Watergate revelations he reported on back in 1973 and 1974.

“Rage” is based in part on a series of interviews that Woodward conducted with Trump from December through July, and recordings of those interviews have been posted online. Bernstein told Keillar, “As we hear in the tapes and see throughout Bob’s book, (Trump) is putting his own narrow presidential reelection efforts in front of the safety, health and wellbeing of the people of the United States. We’ve never had a president who has done anything like this before.”

Bernstein added, “Six days, seven days after he was told about the gravity of this pandemic and its potential and the pathogens and what has been unleashed in the air, he had a State of the Union address…. Any other competent, concerned American president would have gone before the State of the Union and Congress and said, ‘We have an enemy such as we have never seen — and we have a national emergency.’…. And instead, on tape, time after time after time — and through the narrative of Bob Woodward’s book — we see the narrative of the president put his narrow, selfish interests ahead of the health of the people of this country…. It is a dereliction of duty recorded as no other dereliction of duty has been — even more so than the Nixon tapes.”

Bernstein noted that during the Watergate scandal, Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona was among the Republicans who called for Nixon’s resignation — and he is hoping that the Republicans of today, in light of the damning revelations in “Rage,” will have enough integrity to take a stand against Trump.

“The Republican leadership, including Barry Goldwater — the 1964 nominee of his part for president — went to the White House and told Nixon he had to resign,” Bernstein told Keillar. “And the facts here are even graver than in Watergate.”

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