Veteran investigative journalist Carl Bernstein revealed the Republican senators he says have privately complained about President Trump but refuse to do so in public.
The Watergate sleuth released a list that included 21 names in a trio of tweets on Sunday, one week after he appeared on CNN and called on journalists to consider unmasking the “dirty secret” of the upper chamber.
“I’m not violating any pledge of journalistic confidentially [sic] in reporting this: 21 Republican Sens–in convos w/ colleagues, staff members, lobbyists, W. House aides–have repeatedly expressed extreme contempt for Trump & his fitness to be POTUS,” he said.
“The 21 GOP Senators who have privately expressed their disdain for Trump are: Portman, Alexander, Sasse, Blunt, Collins, Murkowski, Cornyn, Thune, Romney, Braun, Young, Tim Scott, Rick Scott, Rubio, Grassley, Burr, Toomey, McSally, Moran, Roberts, Shelby,” the journalist added.
“With few exceptions, their craven public silence has helped enable Trump’s most grievous conduct—including undermining and discrediting the US the electoral system,” he finished.
The 21 GOP Senators who have privately expressed their disdain for Trump are: Portman, Alexander, Sasse, Blunt, Collins, Murkowski, Cornyn, Thune, Romney, Braun, Young, Tim Scott, Rick Scott, Rubio, Grassley, Burr, Toomey, McSally, Moran, Roberts, Shelby. (2/3)
— Carl Bernstein (@carlbernstein)
November 23, 2020
Bernstein, who exposed the Watergate scandal in the 1970s with Bob Woodward using anonymous sources while at the Washington Post, reasoned that Republicans are taking advantage of this system, most recently in talking about legal challenges surrounding the 2020 presidential election.
But with Trump refusing to concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden, Bernstein called on fellow journalists to come up with a new way to cover GOP senators to combat what he called a “cold civil war of untruth.”
“Perhaps half of the Republican members of the Senate despise and disdain Donald Trump. They were happy to see him lose as long as they could hold on to a Senate majority,” he said said on CNN last Sunday. “It’s time that we start calling these senators out, perhaps by name, in terms of what they really believe, what they tell us as reporters on background.”
Bernstein was referring to what is known in the media business as citing a source “on background,” which is when a reporter can use the information given to them but not with the person’s name attached. Instead, there is an agreement to use a description of the person’s position, or, under “deep background,” without any attribution, to protect their identity.
“They have enabled part of this disinformation campaign, and even some of them are talking about a ‘coup’ that Donald Trump is trying to initiate here and hang in the office by challenging legislatures in the Electoral College, et cetera, et cetera,” he said. “They know what’s going on. They won’t speak out. The dirty secret is perhaps these Republicans in the Senate, and we have to figure out a new way to cover them and what they are really saying to each other.”
The balance of power in the Senate remains uncertain for the 117th session of Congress. Republicans have won 50 seats in the 2020 election, but Democrats, along with two independents who caucus with them, could match the GOP with 50 if two January runoffs in Georgia lean their way. Split 50-50, Kamala Harris, as vice president, would be able to break any ties.