Some of us are old enough to remember a day when Joe Scarborough lamented that tabloid sex scandals were distracting from important political discussions. It was yesterday. But Friday was a new day – a day in which Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski would see through the charade of a President meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un for what it truly was: an attempt to bury the Stormy Daniels scandal.
On Thursday night, CNN and MSNBC hosts failed to find fault with an announcement confirmed by the White House that President Trump would be meeting with the North Korean leader. By Friday morning, panelists on Morning Joe had reached a consensus that the move was in fact detrimental. They just hadn’t agreed yet on exactly why that was the case.
Scarborough kicked off the first segment of his show by giving an overview of the situation:
Suddenly you have the foreign policy community shocked and caught off guard by the most significant announcement a commander in chief could make in 2018. So, tariffs and North Korea, all to distract from a President that didn’t go through the proper channels or use the proper inter-agency processes once.
Co-panelist Willie Geist opted not to expand on Scarborough’s take and instead provided a lengthy analysis of the announcement, which he described as having been done in “a pretty ad hoc manner.” When he finished, Scarborough veered off at a 90-degree angle and continued to push his own pet theory: “Or again, a distraction to change the headlines from Stormy Daniels.”
Brzezinski perked up. “I think, yeah, that’s exactly what it is,” she concurred.
Panelists proceeded to analyze the potential ramifications of the meeting in further detail, bouncing different narratives off of each other in a search for the most effective angle from which to attack the President. After several minutes of this, Scarborough tired of watching his compatriots stumbling over each other and decided to bulldoze the conversation:
But Donald Trump, again, he just makes a decision on tariffs because of Hope Hicks, and he makes a decision on North Korea because of Stormy Daniels. And people can deny that all they want, but if you’re doing that, you’re in the tank for Donald Trump, because it’s painfully obvious that that is what’s going on.
He continued: “You know what? He did not want The Washington Post to have the words Stormy Daniels on the front page today.” Brzezinski agreed that the President did not “want it on the front pages.” Determined not to play the fool and be distracted by the President’s elaborate scheme, she vowed, “It’s not going to go away.”
How dare Donald Trump distract from a perfectly good scandal with something as frivolous as foreign policy? This angle reveals reluctance on the part of Scarborough and Brzezinski to abandon a story that they felt was incredibly damaging to the President. Rather than letting it go, they instead crafted a narrative which they hoped might force the scandal back into the public consciousness. Viewers of MSNBC will be relieved to know there is still at least one show determined to talk about the real issues.