Say what? At the start of Morning Joe today, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski pushed back against Donald Trump’s tweets from the day before. Those had been prompted by some personal insults directed at Trump on yesterday’s MJ, which had resulted from insults before that … and in the words of an old shampoo commercial, and so on, and so on, and so on. Trump’s crude attack might have been shocking but hardly surprising, except … apparently to Joe and Mika. They insist that the Donald Trump who sent those tweets isn’t the same guy they liked and boosted two years ago:
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 30, 2017
Joe and Mika have done fine work in this slot over the years, and have been gracious hosts to me on more than one occasion. I found Trump’s tweets offensive too and expected a pushback this morning, but … this argument that Trump has changed is sheer nonsense. And you know who points that out in an op-ed in today’s Washington Post? Joe and Mika:
More significant is Mr. Trump’s continued mistreatment of women. It is disturbing that the president of the United States keeps up his unrelenting assault on women. From his menstruation musings about Megyn Kelly, to his fat-shaming treatment of a former Miss Universe, to his braggadocio claims about grabbing women’s genitalia, the 45th president is setting the poorest of standards for our children.
What do all of these anecdotes have in common? They all took place well before Joe and Mika’s infamously friendly town hall with Trump in February 2016. That forum also produced embarrassing open-mic exchanges during the commercial breaks that got picked up by the media:
At one point, Trump describes Scarborough and Brzezinski’s portrayal of him in one particular case as “almost like a legendary figure.” But Trump also has a pattern of seeing what he wants to see in the analysis of people who view him as a real contender.
At another point, Trump says, “Just make us all look good,” and Scarborough responds, “Exactly.” Later, Trump says, “Nothing too hard, Mika,” referring to upcoming questions, and Brzezinski replies, “Okay.”
Joe and Mika certainly have a case to make that Trump acted reprehensibly yesterday. Even if this is a feud that has had both sides acting inappropriately, one side consists of television hosts of a chatty morning show, and the other is … the head of state for the US and the leader of the free world. The public puts its trust in the latter to prioritize our interests, rather than use his office to answer personal insults. One expects the president to have much more important work to do than to spend his time obsessed with TV hosts, and to conduct himself in a manner befitting the office he holds.
However, one also expects political analysts of Joe and Mika’s stature to have more insight than this. Trump has been rude and crude his entire adult life, and from their ringside seats no one should know that better than Joe and Mika. To claim that they missed that aspect of Trump’s personality when it was on full display for everyone else is to undermine their own status as political commentators, a point made by NRO’s Andy McCarthy on Twitter:
If that’s Scarborough’s take, why would anyone want his analysis of anything? It’s like watching sandbox (where 1 of brats is P of the US).
— Andrew C. McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) June 30, 2017
This is precisely the Trump we saw in the primaries — the one who kept commenting on Carly Fiorina’s face in 2015, the one who attacked Heidi Cruz’ looks and accused Ted Cruz’ father of being in on the JFK assassination, and so on, and so on. This looks like a bad attempt at CYA far too long after the fact, from two hosts who are better than that kind of dodge. Come on, man.