That MSNBC Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough does not like President Trump is not exactly earth shattering news. Yet, the former Republican congressman always finds a new way to sound like a Democrat in his criticisms, including in a Wednesday Washington Post op-ed he wrote that made the show's admittedly liberal guests seem reasoned by comparison.
Co-host Mika Brzezinski began by reading an excerpt from Scarborough's op-ed entitled, I disagreed with Obama. But what Trump has done makes those differences insignificant. Brzezinski quoted Scarborough: "'Last week's slaughter of Muslims in New Zealand was allegedly committed by a fascist who claimed to draw inspiration from President Trump, among others. It was the latest in a long line of tragedies that our president failed to clearly condemn."'
It's fine if Scarborough wants to criticize Trump for one reason or another, but this line can be proven false by anyone willing to spend five seconds to do a basic Twitter search. In a March 15 tweet, Trump specifically noted the fact that the Christchurch shooter targeted Muslims by referring to "horrible massacre in the Mosques." If Trump did what Scarborough alleges, he would not have referenced the mosques.
Brzezinski then turned to the part of Scarborough's op-ed that was reminiscent of liberals during the Obama years:
That’s why any policy differences I had with Obama now seem so insignificant. Americans who still have faith in the upward arc of Martin Luther King's moral universe should be grateful for Obama's presidency and the way his election exposed the white racism that is still at large in our land. If changing the Constitution and re-electing Obama two more times would break the fever that ravages Trump's Washington I would cheerfully passage that constitutional amendment slap a “Hope and Change” sticker on my shirt and race to the nearest voting booth to support the man historians will remember as the most significant president since Abraham Lincoln.
There are plenty of conservatives who are critical of Trump, but they do so from a conservative perspective, Scarborough, sounding more like a left-wing activist, declared, "... we are going to be a non-white country, majority non-white country, because I think everything that's happening right now can be explained by that."
One of the worst habits of people like Scarborough is to behave as if history began when Trump became president. Obama won re-election, with the media's help, by saying that Mitt Romney, who is now held up by people to Trump's left as the epitome of virtue, was waging war on women in America. There was a belief among people, even those who did not vote for him, that Obama would help unite the country and move past the country's past sins on race, but instead people on the left would say that any criticism of him was because some people just didn't want to see a black man in the White House. Before Trump was tweeting in the early hours of the morning, Obama was doing interviews with people who take baths in a tub full of Fruit Loops for a living. The idea that the Obama years were marked by dignity in the Oval Office is revisionist history.
The segment started out with the liberal Darrell West of the Brookings Institute on to discuss his new book Divided Politics, Divided Nation: Hyperconflict in the Trump Era in which West explores how our politics became so divisive. The liberal West was more reasonable than the supposedly conservative Scarborough, for according to West, the country needs to look at why certain parts of the country feel bitter and left behind, which has more to do with economics than race. However, since Trump lives rent-free in Scarborough's head, he was unable to see past race in his denouncements of Trump and praise of Obama.
Here is a transcript for the March 20 show:
8:43 AM ET
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Joe has a column in the "Washington Post" this morning, its number one on the site, so it’s heavily read.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Huge.
BRZEZINSKI: No, because it touches on what we're seeing happening here and how troubled so many are. “I disagreed with Obama but what Trump has done makes those differences insignificant.” He writes in part this – “Last week's slaughter of Muslims in New Zealand was allegedly committed by a fascist who claimed to draw inspiration from President Trump, among others. It was the latest in a long line of tragedies that our president failed to clearly condemn. After the 2017 riots in Charlottesville, Trump proclaimed a moral equivalence between neo-Nazis and their opponents. Following the killing in Christchurch, the president dismissed the threat white supremacy while claiming the rising tide of violence coming from the far right was limited to a few troublemakers ‘very serious problems.’ That’s why any policy differences I had with Obama now seem so insignificant. Americans who still have faith in the upward arc of Martin Luther King's moral universe should be grateful for Obama's presidency and the way his election exposed the white racism that is still at large in our land. If changing the Constitution and re-electing Obama two more times would break the fever that ravages Trump's Washington I would cheerfully passage that constitutional amendment slap a “Hope and Change” sticker on my shirt and race to the nearest voting booth to support the man historians will remember at the most significant president since Abraham Lincoln.
SCARBOROUGH: By the way, I had to wait until my aunt passed away to write that, and my dad. Up in heaven going, “what the hell? What the hell?”
BRZEZINSKI: We’re up against the reality of what really exists in America now.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, so --
BRZEZINSKI: It's been exposed.
SCARBOROGUH: So glad you all brought up the fact we are going to be a non-white country. Majority non-white country, because I think everything that's happening right now can be explained by that. I really do. And Barack Obama's coalition in 2008 really was the coalition of the future. It's just taken --
SHAWNA THOMAS: But, some parts of that coalition thought Barack Obama's election meant that, like, racism was over in the United States.
THOMAS: Clearly your column shows racism is not over. Clearly, what we're seeing is racism is not over but I think the question is, have we missed the boat on trying to bring the country together? I mean, the United States didn't do, like, a truth and reconciliation commission like South Africa did, which is a different situation and had a majority black population, but how -- is there any way to credibly have that conversation? Especially if you have a president who doesn't, who doesn't really seem to think words matter? Don't you need someone at that level to lead such a conversation?
DARRELL WEST: I have an optimistic last chapter in the sense that --
THOMAS: So, I got to get all the way to the end?
WEST: Yeah, just skip the first eight chapters and read chapter nine. Year all right in that we face major challenges polarization is very deeply rooted but we shouldn't give up and we shouldn’t think there's nothing we can do, because we have to analyze the root causes of polarization, which is the loss of economic opportunity, the fact that education is so expensive. My mother was an employee at the university that I attended.
SCARBOROUGH: But, can I stop you there for a second?
WEST: My tuition was $150.
SCARBOROUGH: Unemployment, though, and this is what’s so disturbing about the racism that's out there right now. And you're exactly right and that’s what I say in the column, we all, most of us, fooled ourselves into believing that the first black man being elected ever in a majority white country meant we were moving past the scourge of slavery and Dread Scott and everything else, but right now this is happening with unemployment below 4%. All of this is happening with a very strong economy, and still this racial unrest is bubbling up and the president is using his racism.
WEST: But, the problem is - national unemployment is 3.8% but there are big parts of America not sharing in that prosperity. There are no jobs, there’s no future. The children are having to go to the city just to find employment and so there's a deep bitterness out there from all those who feel like they're left behind. They don't like the status quo. They’re angry. My sisters when I talk with them support Trump because they don't like the status quo. Either in terms of values or economics. So it's really a combination of those things.
SCARBOROUGH: And they like Trump's status quo? I'm asking my family members this, pretending like I'm asking your family members. There's a horse in the hospital! That’s a John Mulaney joke.