First rule of political scandals: always accuse your opponent’s most embarrassing scandal of being the worst thing since Watergate. Second rule of political scandals: when fending off an embarrassing scandal of your own, never invoke Watergate. Someone apparently forgot to teach Donald Trump that second one, because today he dragged Watergate directly into his own deepening Russia scandal.
Trump seemed to think he was helping his own case today by quoting the rare political pundit who’s defending him when it comes the leaked intel documents alleging that Russia has blackmail tapes of him doing things with prostitutes. But he may have overlooked (or perhaps simply doesn’t know) that the pundit in question, Bob Woodward, is one of the two reporters who broke the Watergate scandal wide open.
Trump tweeted today: “Thank you to Bob Woodward who said, ‘That is a garbage document…it never should have been presented…Trump’s right to be upset (angry) about that…Those Intelligence chiefs made a mistake here, & when people make mistakes, they should APOLOGIZE.’ Media should also apologize.” We’re pretty sure Woodward wasn’t speaking in all caps when he said it.
But the irony here is that Woodward’s investigative partner on the Watergate scandal, Carl Bernstein, actually helped break the Trump-Russia scandal for CNN this week and has a byline to prove it.
So not only did Trump fail in the perception department by injecting a Watergate reporter into the discussion of his Russia-gate scandal, he’s also only 50-50 when it comes to Watergate reporters being on his side.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report