Carl Bernstein—one of the legendary journalists whose reporting exposed the Watergate scandal and led to the resignation of then-President Richard Nixon—isn't mincing words in his evaluation of former President Donald Trump.
In comments to CNN host Brian Stelter, Bernstein called Trump an "American war criminal" before doubling down.
Describing Trump as "delusional," Bernstein said:
"I think we need to calmly step back and maybe look at Trump in a different context. He is our own American war criminal of a kind we've never experienced before."
After Stelter asked him to elaborate, the reporter continued:
"In international law there have been 'crimes against humanity.' I think what we're talking about, Trump's crimes, as an American war criminal, in his own country that he has perpetrated upon our people, including the tens of thousands of people who died because of his homicidal negligence in the pandemic, putting his own electoral interests above the health of our people as they were slaughtered in this pandemic."
Bernstein wasn't done:
"Looking at his actions in terms of fomenting a coup to hold on to office, in which the head of the American Military, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has now compared Trump—not the press, not reporters comparing Trump to Hitler—but rather the head of the American Military comparing him and his movement to Brown Shirts, to the Reichstag Fire. ... It fits as a piece with something so extraordinary in our history. It's not political. Trump is not just political. He transcends the political, and we need to start looking at his crimes in that context."
Trump admitted to Bernstein's onetime partner, Bob Woodward, in a taped interview that the former President intentionally downplayed the threat posed by the virus that's killed over 600 thousand Americans. Trump repeatedly resisted the implementation of basic health guidelines, including shutdowns, emphasizing the importance of keeping the economy—whose stability he touted as his number one achievement—afloat.
"You're gonna get heat for talking about war crimes," Stelter responded.
But in fact, Bernstein was met with agreement on social media.
Some were glad to see Bernstein not holding back in his characterization of Trump.
Bernstein isn't backing down.