Morning Joe Diagnoses President Trump With Mental 'Disorder'

Monday on Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough, along with the other panelists, attempted to diagnose President Trump with a mental disorder. The discussion began after a clip was played of Trump walking out of a signing. Scarborough repeatedly asked his co host, Mika Brzezinski, “What just happened?”. This catapulted into Scarborough explaining: “We had our misgivings about him. But I think it's safe to say neither you nor I thought it would be this bad.”

Scarborough continued this discussion expressing: “We were concerned – really, really concerned. Never thought though that the guy that we've known for 10, 11, 12 years would be that much of a petulant brat...Because it hurts him. It’s like he’s getting a hammer every day and just – we didn't think he would get a hammer every day and pick it up and just hit his hand.”

Donny Deutsch, an advertising executive and frequent liberal guest on the show, answered:

No, actually quite the opposite. The day after he got elected I came on your show and I was -- maybe I was just whistling in the dark. I said you know what, maybe his need to be loved, and his ego to be successful, and want to pull the left side to the middle, all of the above -- It's quite the opposite...I also think it's time, and I know in the post Goldwater era there's the unwritten rule in the psychiatric community that nobody diagnoses from afar, I just don't think he's a well guy, period.

Scarborough agreed and pulled political analyst Mark Halperin into the conversation:

When you start doing things, Mark Halperin, that are against your best interest -- See, because, during the campaign he did all these horrible things, right? But you could say they are horrible things but there's going to be a segment of his base that will actually vote for him because he's talking about the birther stuff or he's talking about this or he's talking about that so – In that respect he would do these things that were offensive to all of us but you wouldn't say, well this is actually like him hitting himself on the hand with hammer. What he is doing now is not in his self-interest. And that's when you start saying, wait a second, how well is he if he's doing these things that any rational human being would know would hurt him politically?

Further into the segment, Scarborough again brought up the mental health of the President, saying: “We talked about this before, how well the guy is off right now mentally. Any sane, rational person would know if I keep bringing attention to something, then I'm going to keep churning up attention on something, and it is not going to be in my best interests...And his staff, like any sane, rational staff would be pulling their hair out right now saying, my God. Instead, they keep making excuses for it.”

Deutsch, playing into this comment, replied:

There’s a disorder -- it’s interesting. There was an article over the weekend about election night that right even after his triumph he was fixated on a three-day old negative article, they literally couldn't get him off of. And that's what this is -- I don't know what the disorder is. And I'm not being glib, that regardless of what else is going on if there’s – if he's been pricked in a certain area, there's an inability, physiologically for him to move off of it, even if it's self-destructive.

Scarborough retorted:

He is elected President of the United States, and he starts lying about 3 million votes being illegally cast. And he is obsessed on that from the day he's elected President of the United States in the most shocking political upset of our lifetimes... Then the day he's inaugurated, Mika, he is now the 45th President of the United States. What does he do? He starts obsessing about crowd size and starts lying about crowd size. Now I'm sorry, that is not a healthy, normal, well functioning man. And he obsesses and he lies about crowd size for another three or four weeks...Until he starts lying about Barack Obama. Not healthy. Something is deeply wrong with this man that he cannot show...Everything he is doing just as offensive, but it is against his political interest. And that's where you start saying, okay, wait a second. There's no rational reason why he should be doing this every day, even if you think he's a cynical, horrible human being, this hurts him.

Deutsch, again feeding right into this narrative: “And Joe, what you and I are dancing around here and going back to, yes, there was logic, devious and disgusting, but everything now points to certain disorders. My hair is not on fire but – and I'm not a clinician. And I, once again, we no – doctors don't diagnose – There’s a – he's not well in many ways. If anybody who was behaving this way, if a school teacher was behaving this way, if your friend was behaving this way, you'd be concerned.” Continuing Deutsch’s thought, Scarborough said: “If any CEO behaved this way, they would have been fired by the board 60 days ago.”

In another segment towards the end of the show, the hosts of Morning Joe began to say more absurd things regarding the President. Brzezinski spoke: “We leave you with one of the President's tweets from just moments ago. Quote, "Did Hillary Clinton ever apologize for receiving the answers to the debate?” Scarborough, outraged, exclaimed: “Oh my God. Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? You're worried about North Korea or that?”

Brzezinski retorted: “This guy is tweeting right now. Our President, the leader of the free world. He’s got his fingers on the button and he’s tweeting about Hillary.” Scarborough, again, blurted out: “Are you kidding me?” Nick Confessore of The New York Times declared: “Hillary and the debate? Nobody cares. Nobody cares.” Scarborough agreed and yelled out, “Nobody on the planet cares.”

Brzezinski proclaimed: “There goes that hammer again!” Following these exchanges, Scarborough turned to his co host and said: “Mika, you can say it...The amendment thing.” Brzezinski asserted: “The 25th Amendment. Let’s do it.”

Brzezinski was referring to the provision in the 25th Amendment that allows for the president's removal from office.

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Here is the full exchange that took place April 3

MSNBC - Morning Joe
6AM TEASE
6:00:53 - 6:05:05


JOE SCARBOROUGH: Wait. What just happened there?

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Well he walked out of -- he– he just–

JOE SCARBOROUGH: But it's a signing, right?

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I know but- he didn't want to do it.

DONNY DEUTSCH: He didn’t have a pen.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: But– he– somebody had to–

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: At the last minute he decided we're going to do this signing inside but he didn't tell anybody.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Well- Cuz I'm just saying I saw it-

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Yeah

JOE SCARBOROUGH: And then I'm thinking, this reminds me of a show

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Yes! My favorite show.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Somebody actually tweeted it. So let's watch this really quickly.

[Played to the theme of Veep when they usually are rolling the credits. Morning Joe added the credits and theme song to this clip of Trump]

DONALD TRUMP: Very, very quickly. Thank you very much.

REPORTER: Mr. President, today with your tweet, were you trying to tell the justice department to grant immunity to Michael Flynn? Were you trying to do that Mr. President? Was that your intention Mr. President, sir? Mr. President, was that your intention, Mr. President? Was that your intention, sir?

>> Thank you, guys.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: They literally didn’t have to edit a thing.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: No. Life imitates art, yeah I think so.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Oh my God.

>>He did not sign it.

>>He did not sign.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: That happened.

DONNY DEUTSCH: It's kind of like a metaphor–

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: That happened!

DONNY DEUTSCH: For he was supposed to sign but he didn't. And he's supposed to behaving like a president and he’s not

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: But he's not. Alright–

JOE SCARBOROUGH: We are how many days in, are we Donny? How many days are we in?

DONNY DEUTSCH: 70, feels like year six.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: I’ll tell you this. Now everybody goes how do you not -- how could you not have known he would’ve -- listen, we've known this guy for 10, 11, 12 years.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Yeah

JOE SCARBOROUGH: We had our misgivings about him. But I think it's safe to say neither you nor I thought it would be this bad.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Definitely not.

DONNY DEUTSCH: No, I--

JOE SCARBOROUGH: We were concerned–

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: This is–

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Really, really concerned. Never thought though that the guy that we've known for 10, 11, 12 years would be that much of a petulant brat that when somebody would ask him a question he would—

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Move his entire signing service and leave everybody hanging.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Because it hurts. It’s like he’s getting a hammer every day and just– [motioning a hammer hitting his own hand] We didn't think he would get a hammer every day and pick it up and just hit his hand.

DONNY DEUTSCH: No, actually quite the opposite. The day after he got elected I came on your show and I was- - maybe I was just whistling in the dark, I said you know what, maybe his need to be loved, and his ego to be successful, and want to pull the left side to the middle, all of the above- It's quite the opposite. And I– bless you- I also think it's time, and I know in the post Goldwater era there's the unwritten rule in the psychiatric community that nobody diagnoses from afar, I just don't think he's a well guy, period.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: No. No– It’s just, I mean– No–

JOE SCARBOROUGH: When you start doing things, Mark Halperin, that are against your best interest. See, because, during the campaign he did all these horrible things, right? But you could say they are horrible things but there's going to be a segment of his base that will actually vote for him because he's talking about the birther stuff or he's talking about this or he's talking about that so–

MARK HALPERIN: The wall.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: The wall. In that respect he would do these things that were offensive to all of us but you wouldn't say, well this is actually like him hitting himself on the hand with hammer. What he is doing now is not in his self-interest. And that's when you start saying, wait a second, how well is he? If he's doing these things that any rational humanbeing would know would hurt him politically. Because those things that he did that a lot of us found repugnant before --

DONNY DEUTSCH: They were effective.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Actually, you could say, you know what, they offend me but--

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Don’t like it– It’s completely wrong.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Unfortunately it's effective among some members in the primary.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Will work-

MARK HALPERIN: The glass half empty story is pretty intense. Low approval ratings, failure of the health care initiative, disarray within a lot of the government, a lot of tension, and no clear ability to move forward. Glass half full, and probably not half but the full part of the glass- I spent last week, five dates in five days- people are willing to give them a chance. They are not as impatient as Washington. Huge week, can he get Gorsuch through? Lots of foreign policy–

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Hold a second. Hold a second. Mitch Mcconnell will get Gorsuch through

MARK HALPERIN: Yeah

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Just like Mitch Mcconnell --

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Yeah- that’s not really-

JOE SCARBOROUGH: I think conservatives are going to see that as Mitch Mcconnell's accomplishment for good reason and not Donald Trump's accomplishment.

MARK HALPERIN: Can he get Gorsuch through in a way that he gets credit. But what– What does he turn to now? What is the– what are the big issues the President wants to put before the country? This week is kind of wide open you know? Is he going to talk about trade? Is he going to talk about health care? Is he going to talk about taxes?

(...)

6:14:44 - 6:19:24

JOE SCARBOROUGH: We talked about this before, how well the guy is off right now mentally. Any sane, rational person would know if I keep bringing attention to something, then I'm going to keep churning up attention on something, and it is not going to be in my best interests.

MARK HALPERIN: It’s got nothing to do with jobs and the economy, which is all he says he wants to be focused on.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Well- and it's got nothing to do with -- he's repeated this over and over and over again. It really is like picking the same scab over and over again. I'm sorry to say that, but that's what he's doing. And his staff, like any sane, rational staff would be pulling their hair out right now saying, my God. Instead, they keep making excuses for it.

DONNY DEUTSCH: There’s a disorder- it’s interesting. There was an article over the weekend about election night that right even after his triumph he was fixated on a three-day old negative article, they literally couldn't get him off of. And that's what this is–  I don't know what the disorder is. And I'm not being glib, that regardless of what else is going on if there’s– if he's been pricked in a certain area, there's an inability, physiologically for him to move off of it, even if it's self-destructive.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: He is elected- President of the United States, and he starts lying about 3 million votes being illegally cast. And he is obsessed on that from the day he's elected President of the United States in the most shocking political upset of our lifetimes. Most people would say–

MARK HALPERIN: Or maybe ever. Ever.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Probably ever. Most people go, I'm good with that. You know, what I'm going to kind of just kind of take that to the house and just relax and golf and smile. Then the day he's inaugurated, Mika, he is now the 45th President of the United States. What does he do? He starts obsessing about crowd size and starts lying about crowd size. Now I'm sorry, that is not a healthy, normal, well functioning man. And he obsesses and he lies about crowd size for another three or four weeks.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI:  Still does.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Until he starts lying about Barack Obama. Not healthy. Something is deeply wrong with this man that he cannot show -- hell, he's not even a day trader, he's a minute trader. And he keeps -- again, here is the critical thing. Don't say, please, on Twitter, please, stop being stupid. Don't be stupid and say you should have known this was coming because of what he did with the birther stuff. I will say it again, Donald Trump cynically knew that if he played the birther card that 45% of the Republican party would be in support of him and say, hey, that's our guy. He's saying what nobody else will say. That was in his self-interest. It was offensive. It was – a lie, and it was racist. But his political self-interest was cynically forwarded just– just like a bigot in the South back in the 1940s would do that by– But in this case, Mika, everything he is doing just as offensive, but it is against his political interest. And that's where you start saying, okay, wait a second. There's no rational reason why he should be doing this every day, even if you think he's a cynical, horrible human being, this hurts him.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI:  Right.

DONNY DEUTSCH:  And Joe, what you and I are dancing around here and going back to, yes, there was logic, devious and disgusting, but everything now points to certain disorders. My hair is not on fire but–  and I'm not a clinician. And I, once again, we no– doctors don't diagnose– There’s a –  he's not well in many ways. If anybody who was behaving this way, if a school teacher was behaving this way, if your friend was behaving this way, you'd be concerned.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI:  Right.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: If any CEO behaved this way, they would have been fired by the board 60 days ago.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: That's what I wonder about the administration, this incredible foreign policy team–

DONNY DEUTSCH:  What we never get to talk about.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: The advisers are all too afraid to say anything, even members of the family. They just can't do it. They get in the room with him. They talk to people who have really good advice– They talk to you (Scarborough) sometimes, and you give really good advice, same stuff you say on the air, but better, maybe even more clear, then they get in the room and they can't do it.

(...)

7:43:24 - 7:44:10

MIKA BRZEZINSKI:  We leave you with one of the President's tweets from just moments ago. Quote, did Hillary Clinton ever apologize for receiving the answers to the debate?

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Oh my God. Are you kidding me?

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Just asking. Swear to God. This guy is tweeting right now.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Are you kidding me? You worried about North Korea or that?

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Our President, the leader of the free world. He’s got his fingers on the button and he’s tweeting about Hillary.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Are you kidding me?

NICK CONFESSORE: Hillary and the debate? Nobody cares. Nobody cares.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Nobody on the planet cares.

MARK HALPERIN: Oh there’s one person...

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: There goes that hammer again!

JOE SCARBOROUGH:  Mika, you can say it.                

MIKA BRZEZINSKI:  I can?

JOE SCARBOROUGH: The amendment thing.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Oh, it' time for article 25.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Amendment– 25th amendment.        

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: 25th amendment. Let’s do it.

DONNY DEUTSCH:And the psychiatrist to step forward.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: No seriously, that–  there are people who need to really think about that. How long do they want this to last? How bad do they want things to get?

Alexis Thomasi
Alexis Thomasi
Alexis Thomasi, an intern in the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division