CNN’s Gergen Laments Trump Bringing About 'the Death of Democracy'

In a very candid expression of his displeasure for President Trump during an appearance on Anderson Cooper 360 Thursday, CNN commentator David Gergen suggested that the President was bringing about the “death” of democracy in America. The comment was telling because it didn’t faze his host or fellow talking head, former Obama Chief Strategist David Axelrod.

Gergen’s smear came after Cooper asked him to comment on how much of a liar Trump was. “He's as dismissive of truth as he is of ethics. We go on and on and on with this,” Gergen chided as he proceeded to compare Trump to Turkey’s totalitarian leader:

I thought one thing was striking this week, Anderson, was a story in yesterday's front page of The New York Times about the leader of Turkey, Erdogan, who is giving speeches like this every day. Two or three on national television, he pays no attention to facts, he tells a total number of lies, he’s charismatic, and he maintains about a 40 percent steady approval rating. Guess who else has about 40 percent these days, Donald Trump.

So, it is a device that works up to a point. And I'm sad to say it also can lead to the diminishment of democracy, if not its death,” Gergen added. It’s interesting that Gergen would bring up Turkey because earlier that night, on Fox News, host Tucker Carlson called out CNN for lending its name to “CNN Turk,” which operated as a state propaganda mouthpiece for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

 

 

Cooper was curious about Gergen’s point and asked him to elaborate on it a bit more, “Do you really believe that?” “Yes, I do. I do,” Gergen replied as he promoted a book by two of his Harvard colleagues called “How Democracies Die.

And I now think increasingly it’s becoming a threat. We're not there by any means but it is a threat. And if we had this president and we had a couple more like him, a couple more like him, I think we would be very close,” Gergen warned.

Still interested in walking down this path, Cooper asked Axelrod to chime in with his two cents. Axelrod agreed that what Trump brought to the table was harmful to democracies:

Well look, I'm deeply concerned about democracy, not just here but in Europe. We see these authoritarian regimes growing up. We see democratic institutions being degraded and we see this assault on truth and the free press, the truth, facts. Those things are central to a functioning democracy.

My concern about Donald Trump is less his policies, even though I disagree with many of his policies. It's his utter disregard for democratic institutions,” Axelrod bemoaned. “He's the president of the United States. He's the trustee of those institutions and he takes a hammer blow to them every single day and that is concerning.” But he did admit he believed America was strong enough to repel Trump’s negative influence.

Transcript below, click "expand" to read: 

 

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CNN
Anderson Cooper 360
April 5, 2018
918:26 PM Eastern [45 Seconds]

(…)

DAVID GERGEN: He's as dismissive of truth as he is of ethics. We go on and on and on with this. I thought one thing was striking this week, Anderson, was a story in yesterday's front page of The New York Times about the leader of Turkey, Erdogan, who is giving speeches like this every day. Two or three on national television, he pays no attention to facts, he tells a total number of lies, he’s charismatic, and he maintains about a 40 percent steady approval rating. Guess who else has about 40 percent these days, Donald Trump. So, it is a device that works up to a point. And I'm sad to say it also can lead to the diminishment of democracy, if not its death.

(…)

9:20:45 PM Eastern [1 minute 55 seconds]

ANDERSON COOPER: David Gergen, you just said about this can lead to the death of democracy. Do you really believe that?

GERGEN: Yes, I do. I do. This book that's out now called, How Democracies Die by a couple or Harvard professors is very worth reading. It's short and makes compelling points about how many countries—a dozen countries that were democracies have become authoritarian countries and it's happened again and again. In the last 20 years, it’s happened again and again and again when extremists, strongmen come to office and carry their countries in that direction.

And when you don't have the kind of restraint and the kind of forbearance that a democracy needs, you can erode it very badly. And I now think increasingly it’s becoming a threat. We're not there by any means but it is a threat. And if we had this president and we had a couple more like him, a couple more like him, I think we would be very close.

COOPER: David Axelrod, do you believe that?

DAVID AXELROD: Well look, I'm deeply concerned about democracy, not just here but in Europe. We see these authoritarian regimes growing up. We see democratic institutions being degraded and we see this assault on truth and the free press, the truth, facts. Those things are central to a functioning democracy.

So, I have faith ultimately in our institutions of democracy and in the American people who ultimately have the authority with their vote. It is -- I've said this to you many times, Anderson. My concern about Donald Trump is less his policies, even though I disagree with many of his policies. It's his utter disregard for democratic institutions. He's the president of the United States. He's the trustee of those institutions and he takes a hammer blow to them every single day and that is concerning.

(…)


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