Journalist Carl Bernstein — of the iconic Woodward and Bernstein — has just tweeted a list of 21 Republican Senators he says have "privately expressed their disdain" for President Trump, or who even "despise" Trump. That list includes Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.
I'm not violating any pledge of journalistic confidentially 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. (1/3)— Carl Bernstein (@carlbernstein) November 23, 2020
With few exceptions, their craven public silence has helped enable Trump’s most grievous conduct—including undermining and discrediting the US the electoral system.— Carl Bernstein (@carlbernstein) November 23, 2020
More from my appearance earlier on @cnn: https://t.co/c1jZXMR0Pv (3/3)
Sen. Portman has yet to respond. Or come out to say anything against Trump — in public; apparently he has said things in private, which is not helpful to those who don't want to see American democracy dismantled by what Bernstein referred to as a "mad king."
"Craven Repub silence is now enabling a Mad King in the Final Days of his reign to scorch the earth of his country to bring down the whole system, sabotaging USA and its people thru madness of his tweets & willingness to undermine the electoral system at heart of our democracy," Bernstein tweeted.
The Cincinnati Enquirer did just publish an OpEd by Portman — basically him finally confirming that Joe Biden is the President-elect — with Portman writing, "the initial determination showing Joe Biden with enough electoral votes to win has not changed."
Bernstein says the 21 Senators he listed were happy to see Trump defeated in the election (as long as they could keep control of the Senate).
Portman also seemed to indirectly suggest that Trump's inability to concede does seem to pose some issues: "I voted for President Trump, was a co-chair of his campaign in Ohio, and I believe his policies would be better for Ohio and the country. But I also believe that there is no more sacred constitutional process in our great democracy than the orderly transfer of power after a presidential election. It is now time to expeditiously resolve any outstanding questions and move forward."
None of this is direct criticism, but, as Tyler Buchanan of Ohio Capital Journal tweeted, does give others an opening for more direct responses to Trump's attempt to "scorch the earth."
It's worth preempting any future revisionist history to note this "Welp, I guess Biden did win" column came weeks after the election was already called.— Tyler Buchanan (@Tylerjoelb) November 23, 2020
Also worth noting: Portman's acknowledgment of reality gives others the opening to do so as well. https://t.co/IN77pBh7p5
The CNN commentary is worth a watch.