Douglas Brinkley: Joint Chiefs need to “enter politics,” distance themselves from Trump
It was apocalypse now on Brian Stelter’s CNN show today. Under the guise of discussing how the media should be reporting the issue, the topic at hand was how and whether President Trump should be removed from office.
Historian Douglas Brinkley was the most partisan panelist, saying “we all know” that Trump is a narcissist, and that we’re dealing with what “having a sick man in the White House means.” Brinkley said that the five generals of the Joint Chiefs of Staff need to “enter politics” and distance themselves from Trump.
Bernstein asked: “is it time then for the president to be urged to leave office by those in his party and perhaps those same military leaders? Stelter called it “the biggest story in the world right now.
Stelter said that “some foreign correspondents, writing about the United States from other countries, would bring up the word “coup, a soft coup, with all this talk of military leaders.”
Alice Stewart, who previously worked on Ted Cruz’s campaign, said: “that has been discussed, And some people wonder what happened at Camp David over the last few days [where Trump met with top military and diplomatic leaders], and whether or not that was sort of an intervention.
Stewart earlier said that there have been “questions about the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, whether or not he should be removed for medical reasons.”
So take your pick: 25th Amendment or “soft coup”: the bottom line on CNN is that we are moving toward some kind of dramatic denouement of the Trump presidency.
Note: Bernstein says that the “primary function” of the media should be to cover the question of whether Trump should be removed from office. No doubt CNN and many other media outlets would be only too happy to oblige.
BRIAN STELTER: In discussions among friends and families, and debates on social media, people are questioning the president’s fitness. But these questions are happening in newsrooms and TV studios as well. Usually after the microphones are off, after the stories are filed, after the paper’s been put to bed, people’s concerns, and fears, and questions come out.
. . .
Is the President of the United States a racist? Is he suffering from some kind of illness? Is he fit for office? [long dramatic pause] And if he’s unfit, then what?
. . .
Is it time for objective journalists, and I don’t mean opinion folks, I mean down-the-middle journalists [like the ones at CNN?] to address these questions head on?
. . .
CARL BERNSTEIN: Republicans in Congress, the highest of intelligence officials, the highest of military officers in our country, leaders of the business community, all of whom have dealt with the White House, and many of them have dealt personally with Donald Trump, have come to believe that he is unfit for the presidency.
. . .
Republicans in Congress, they have been raising the very question of his stability and his mental fitness to be President of the United States . . . It is an important, crucial, dangerous story that reporters need to start making there business to do the reporting.
. . .
And in the last couple of weeks, it’s become a cascade, a torrent, a river of serious questions about whether the President of the United States is fit and stable enough to be president.
STELTER: Isn’t that the biggest story in the world right now?
ALICE STEWART: It is a legitimate story to cover; it is a legitimate question to be asked . . . There have been questions about the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, whether or not he should be removed for medical reasons.
. . .
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY: Senator Corker is a real leader among Republicans, and it was very brave of him to step out, and really talk about the fact that we have an incompetent president, and what does that mean for our country?
. . .
On the medical front, we all know he is a neon billboard for overt narcissism, malignant self-love. We’ve all known that. Now we’re seeing, we’re getting the ramifications as a nation of what having a sick man in the White House means.
. . .
We’re at the state now where the five generals of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have to go out and enter politics and say we want nothing to do with what the president is saying. It is a crisis going on in the White House, and it’s about Donald Trump’s fitness for command.
. . .
BERNSTEIN: We need as journalists to make this our primary function right now in many regards in terms of covering this presidency.
. . .
BRINKLEY: For Donald Trump to be backing neo-Nazis, and to have Jim Acosta–it should be in the Bartlett’s Book of Quotations–“there are no fine Nazis.”
. . .
BERNSTEIN: One of these Republicans I talked to last week, who said, “the fundamental problem is we have a President of the United States who does not know right from wrong and who is not stable.
. . .
If we are dependent on the military leaders in this country, four or five of them, to protect us from the President of the United States, then that too is a story. And part of that story is, is it time then for the president to be urged to leave office by those in his party and perhaps those same military leaders?
STELTER: Some foreign correspondents, writing about the United States from other countries, would bring up the word “coup, soft coup!” with all this talk of military leaders intervening.
STEWART: Well that has been discussed, and some people wonder what happened at Camp David over the last few days and whether or not that was sort of an intervention?
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