During an appearance on CNN’s Reliable Sources, which is hosted by Brian Stelter, Bernstein revealed that he has often spoken to upper chamber Republicans and members of their staff.
“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.”
Still, he pointed out, these lawmakers publicly endorsed Trump’s claims of voter fraud and expressed support for his refusal to concede the election.
By doing so, Bernstein argued, they participated in a “disinformation campaign,” misleading voters about the 2020 presidential election. He then suggested that journalists should reveal the names of these senators so that the public knows what they really stand for.
“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,” he said.
As The Washington Examiner noted, it is common for reporters to protect their sources’ identities. Journalists sometimes cite a source “on background,” which means they report on the information they receive from a source, but only use a general description of that person’s position without disclosing their name.
Bernstein — who, along with Bob Woodward, exposed the Watergate scandal involving former President Richard Nixon — suggested that Republican politicians have taken advantage of the media’s willingness to quote them off the record.
This longstanding practice, Bernstein posited, needs to be abandoned, because many Republicans have long refused to publicly speak out against Trump.
“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,” he stated.
Republicans have a good chance of keeping their majority in the upper chamber, but it remains unclear if they will be able to do so. If Democratic candidates win the two Georgia runoffs, which will take place in January, each party will have 50 seats. As vice president, Kamala Harris would be able to break any tie.
Some Republicans have condemned Trump’s attempts to cast the election as illegitimate. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger and former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, among others, have publicly rebuked the commander-in-chief.