Bernstein goes there again: Maybe once a month or so, Carl Bernstein is permitted to say it.
He makes yet another attempt to start the relevant discussion—the discussion about Donald J. Trump's mental health. Last night, speaking with Anderson Cooper, his effort began like this:
BERNSTEIN (8/16/17): I think there's considerable evidence that there's a consensus developing in the military, at the highest levels, in the intelligence community, among Republicans in Congress, including the leaders in the business community, that the president of the United States, Donald Trump, is unfit to be the president of the United States.More on Gergen below. Once again, Bernstein was saying that major players in Washington think Donald J. Trump is unwell.
And that's the undercurrent. I've talked to you about it for weeks, that I've been hearing in Washington. There is increasing talk about his emotional and mental stability, as David Gergen referred to earlier.
Our big news orgs have been ducking this obvious question for months, perhaps for years. Just this morning, Joe Scarborough suggested that his bosses have told him not to go there.
Bermstein goes there once a month. Here's the way he continued:
BERNSTEIN (continuing directly): This is extraordinary. It's a dangerous moment in our history. Trump is under siege. Also from a special prosecutor, his family is under siege from a special prosecutor.Below, we'll offer some thoughts on the key words there: "It's a dangerous moment in our history."
But more than anything else, I think there's a sense among military, congressional, business leaders that he's in a kind of freefall, and he made not have many parachutes left, except for his base, to land safely. And that's an awful thin cushion.
We've never seen anything like this. We don't know where it's going.
More on that comment below. Later in his segment with Cooper, Bernstein restated his basic points:
BERNSTEIN: This is unprecedented. That's exactly right. Donald Trump knows the peril of where he's in because he is cognizant of what he is facing. That he now knows that things are closing in on him, that he has lost the constituencies, the business leaders that he had to fire, as it were or dismissed from an advisory council before...During the 7 PM hour, Gergen had spoken with Erin Burnett. During the 9 PM hour, he spoke with Cooper, saying this:
We are in territory we've never been in, but again what we're hearing—and I think all reporters need to be checking their sources and finding out what people on the Hill, in the military, the intelligence communities are saying, because of this element that David Gergen said today, somebody who served in many White Houses, about the stability and mental condition of the president of the United States.
BERNSTEIN: This is something we haven't dealt with before.
GERGEN: Anderson, I think we're going to go through a rough period now on race relations. We're going to have to work our way through it...We don't know if Gergen is right what military leaders think. Let's note a few points about Bernstein and Gergen's remarks:
The scarier part right now is the state of the presidency and the man who's in it. I just—
It echoes some of what you've been saying. Leadership starts from within, from within a person. That's just sort of what's the— Are you anchored? You know, are you sound? Are you of good mind? And I think there are increasing questions tonight about whether this president, about his temperament, about his emotional and mental stability. These issues are now rising among psychiatrists in the country. How do we come to grips with the anger that's in this man, the narcissism, the impulsivity?
You know, there's a "Goldwater rule," as they call it, that says psychiatrists can't comment really or can't offer diagnosis of public figure without having a personal evaluation. That rule is under challenge tonight by a lot of psychiatrists who think they need to speak out. They need to put this on the record. And we have never experienced this before and I think it's why the military has spoken up today.
I think there's a reason the military rallied today, because they have genuine fears about the emotional and mental stability of the man in the Oval Office.
First, the networks and major news orgs are avoiding this discussion. This reluctance may be understandable. But in a modestly rational world, this discussion would be seen as the one we need.
(In fairness, no serious person thinks our press corps, especially our cable news corps, is capable of conducting such a discussion.)
This isn't a question of whether Donald J. Trump should be described as a liar. That's the least of our problems. It's a question of whether Donald J. Trump is unwell. Concerning that, consider this:
We see people exulting about the new pressures being brought upon Trump. We think this is silly, shortsighted.
If Donald J. Trump isn't "anchored;" if Donald J. Trump in truly unwell; the feeling "that things are closing in on him" could be extremely dangerous. Donald J. Trump holds the nuclear codes. If he is truly unwell, additional pressure may be the last thing we need.
Last night, we watched Cooper as he mocked Christopher Cantwell, a visibly unhinged leader of last weekend's Charlottesville march. Cooper is very brave about mocking these people now. But as he did so last night, we couldn't help remembering the way he played Candidate Trump's pool boy/caddie during last year's election.
Cooper is very bold today. Last year, he was a highly-paid pool boy. He rolled over and died.
Again and again and again and again, people like Cooper rolled over and died for Candidate Donald J. Trump. Their bosses wanted the ratings and the income. The millionaire caddies of cable news did as they were told.