Morning Joe Engages In Omar Whataboutism, Despite Claims To The Contrary

On the Thursday edition of Morning Joe, Daily Beast editor Sam Stein took the bulk of his time to go after President Trump's travel ban in a segment that was supposed to be about Rep. Ilhan Omar's anti-Semitic dual loyalty statements and the intra-party fight Democrats are having over how to respond.

After acknowledging that, "there is a obviously a long-standing anti-Semitic trope about dual loyalties" and that liberal Jews have many of the same problems with Benjamin Netanyahu that Omar does, Stein moved to the real story: anti-Muslim behavior.

"This is not whataboutism, although it's going to come across that way, but there is and has to be a better understanding of the degree to which anti-Muslim behavior isn't just rhetorical, but it permeates our politics in ways people don't totally appreciate," Stein declared. Perhaps, it sounds like whataboutism, because it is.

Stein declared that, "We have to step back and realize a huge policy that Donald Trump implemented was called a 'Muslim Ban."' Maybe people "don't totally appreciate" the nature of Donald Trump's "Muslim Ban" because it was not actually a Muslim ban and was only called that by intellectually dishonest politicians and journalists.



Co-host Joe Scarborough was not buying Stein's argument. He did not accept Stein's claim that anti-Muslim bigotry is something that is accepted throughout the country and the two proceeded to get into a back and forth over the subject.

Scarborough wondered why Democrats don't just follow Michelle Obama's advice of, "When they go low, we go high" to show that they are better than Republicans. He then then listed a number of examples of Trump's misdeeds, some of which were more truthful than others, as an explanation as to why Democrats won in 2018.

He also repeated his favorite falsehood that, in the lead-up to 2018, Kevin McCarthy essentially tweeted, "Look at these Jews trying to buy a Democratic majority." He also condemned Rep. Jim Jordan for replacing the 'S' in Tom Steyer's name with a dollar sign. Why would Jordan do that? According to Scarborough, "because he's Jewish." The fact that Steyer is a major Democratic Party donor pushing for Trump's impeachment wasn't considered as the actual reason for the criticism.

Scarborough finished by proclaiming, "[Anti-Semitism] needs to be condemned whether it's from the right-wing, the left-wing, or people in the middle. This is not hard, is it?"

Apparently, it is. For Democrats cannot bring themselves to condemn Omar's remarks because they are afraid of upsetting their left-wing base.

Here is a transcript for the March 7 show:


Morning Joe

7:25 AM ET

SAM STEIN: This is obviously very tricky issue, you know it's been difficult to engage in from a reporting standpoint and even a commentary standpoint. I do think you’re right, there is obviously a long-standing anti-Semitic trope about dual loyalties and whether she intentionally did it or not—she played on that and for a lot of American Jews that has been offensive and it’s been disheartening to watch the difficulty that politicians have had dealing with that.


STEIN: And I do think, finally this not whataboutism, although it’s going to come across that way, but there is and has to be a better understanding of the degree to which anti-Muslim behavior isn’t just rhetorical, but it permeates our politics in ways people don’t totally appreciate. So you, mention that there’s condemnation for anti-Muslim sentiment and remarks and that is true, but we have to step back and realize a huge policy that Donald Trump implemented was called “A Muslim Ban” and he pushed it and made it into law and it went through the Supreme Court…

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Sam, but we understand that! …

STEIN: I mean, you’ve condemned it, but half the country embraced it

SCARBOROUGH: Everybody has talked about that.

STEIN: Yes, but half of the country has embraced it

SCARBOROUGH: I’m saying that everybody’s talked about the media, the Democrats talked about it.

STEIN: I know, but half the country embraced literally embraced it and the Supreme Court embraced its legality.

SCARBOROUGH: I’m sorry, I got to stop you there…

STEIN: Go for it

SCARBOROUGH: I’m sorry the Supreme Court did not actually endorse a quote “Muslim Band,” those quote “Muslim Bans” were overturned twice, it was only twice when the ban was made faith neutral that the Supreme Court allowed it to be passed. It was overturned repeatedly

STEIN: Yes, the origins of the ban was a Muslim Ban

SCARBOROUGH: What’s that?

STEIN: Well, yeah okay, let’s say “yes, you’re right about that,” but still you can acknowledge that a political party led by the now President rallied around a literal ban of Muslims and I don’t think you can actually create an equivalency between what Representative Omar’s saying

SCARBOROUGH: What does that have to do with a Democrat, a freshman Democrat continuing to engage in anti-Semitic tropes, I mean by my way of thinking, the Democrats would want to follow Michelle Obama’s advice, “When they go low, we go high” and actually show Americans there is a difference between Republicans and Democrats, whether you’re talking about…

STEIN: I don’t disagree with that at all. What I’m trying to say is the degree to which we’ve internalized anti-Muslim bigotry because it can now take the form of actual legislation

SCARBOROUGH: But we haven’t

STEIN: Well its law, or it created a law basically

SCARBOROUGH: But, Sam we have not embraced anti-Muslim bigotry and in fact it is called out every day, I would suggest it is one of the reason Democrats won, because of Donald Trump’s misogyny, because of Donald Trump, because of Charlottesville, because of his attitude towards non-white Americans, because of his attitude towards Hispanic, calling them breeders, because his hatefulness towards Muslims, whether it was a Muslim Ban or the Muslim Registry or what he did to a Gold Star Family because the American hero happened to be a Muslim, I don’t know maybe Willie I’m missing something here, but this is not hard, this is not hard, you can uphold the values of the Democratic Party, you can condemn not only anti-Muslim behavior, but anti-Semitic behavior and Republicans. Like, again, this past week Jim Jordan, yes, that same Jim Jordan, put a dollar sign for an ‘S’ in Tom Steyer’s name, why because he’s Jewish, the same thing with Kevin McCarthy who brought up three Jews and said, “Look at these Jews” basically in a tweet “Look at these Jews with their Jewish money trying to buy a Democratic majority.” It is out there and it needs to be condemned whether it’s from the right-wing, the left-wing or people in the middle. This is not hard, is it?

NB Daily Race Issues Racism MSNBC Morning Joe Video Joe Scarborough Sam Stein Ilhan Omar Donald Trump
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