On Monday’s Morning Joe, the panel decided to speculate about Donald Trump deliberately starting an unprovoked nuclear war that would kill millions of Americans, all for the sake of serving the President’s “own political means.” In addition, both the hosts and guest panelists all agreed that Trump and the Republican Party would bear full responsibility for North Korea responding to Trump’s tweets with a “nuclear holocaust.”
The segment started off with the panel in the middle of discussing Senator Bob Corker’s negative comments this past weekend about President Trump:
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: And according to the [New York] Times, Corker would not directly answer when asked whether he thought Trump was fit for the presidency, but he did say Trump was not fully aware of the power of his office: quote, ‘“I don't think he appreciates that when the president of the United States speaks and says the things that he does ... the impact that it has around the world, especially in the region that he's addressing,” he said. “And so yeah, it's concerning to me.”’ Steve Schmidt, let's, I'm, let’s, I’m going to ask you to go there. I mean, he is questioning his fitness.
STEVE SCHMIDT [MSNBC, POLITICAL ANALYST]: [interjecting] Of course he is.
BRZEZINSKI: I mean, this is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, a guy who has access to inside information. He knows what's going on inside the White House and he knows what’s going on around the world, and he is deeply concerned. Fair?
SCHMIDT: Whether he said it or not, the entire interview demonstrates that he questions his fitness as commander in chief, and manifestly so. When we consider the President's loose talk about nuclear weapons, about war on the Korean peninsula, we should just stop for a second and think about this. We have 40,000 troops in Japan, roughly 28,000 in Korea. There are 12,000 artillery pieces that North Koreans have ranged on the city of Seoul. They believe they can deliver 500,000 rounds of artillery and mortars in the first hour of that war. There are 230,000 dependents, U.S. Military dependents in the country of South Korea. When you look at the incompetence and the malfeasance of the response in Puerto Rico, I think there's very serious reason to be concerned about our country's capacity to safely airlift those Americans out of the Korean peninsula to, to [sic] harm's way. And when you look at the behavior across this administration, the lack of rectitude, the lack of probity, the malfeasance, the incompetence, the dishonesty,-
BRZEZINSKI: [interjecting] The cruelty.
SCHMIDT: -the lying, all of it, the indifference to American citizens, what we find through history is that leaders believe that they control events as opposed to being driven by events. We have a president who is clearly out of his depth. The chairman of the senate foreign relations committee has acknowledged it. Foreign heads of state and heads of government understand it as well. We're at a dangerous hour in the world and I do think there is a real lack of imagination in this country for the magnitude of the type of tragedy we could have with this reckless and irresponsible president. It is past time for members of the United States Senate, particularly in the Republican Party, who know what's going on, to speak out directly about it, to communicate truthfully to the American people. They didn't take an oath to the Republican party. They didn't take an oath to Donald Trump. They took an oath to the Constitution of the United States.
Yes, and that constitution clearly puts President Trump in the position of commander in chief of the U.S. military. If North Korea threatens repeatedly to nuke and otherwise kill millions of Americans, as they have done, Trump has every right to assert that the U.S. military will do whatever it can to respond to that aggression. Trump stated as much during his U.N. address last month where he pledged to respond to any attack by Kim Jong-un by destroying the Hermit Kingdom. Morning Joe already reinterpreted that speech as an unprovoked threat to annihilate North Korea, so it’s not surprising that the panel’s discussion quickly continued devolving into complete insanity:
BRZEZINSKI: And Joe, isn't there a false sense of security that they have this team of McMaster and Mattis and Kelly, that can somehow contain him? Hasn't it been proven time and time again that that's impossible? That he will do whatever he wants. He will be as unpredictable as he wants. And if he wants to be a little crazy, he'll be that too. Corker has made that very clear that this guy cannot be contained.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: If you go back and you look at our warning to the Republican party and the American people in early August of 2016 when we’d gotten word from a top foreign policy adviser that Donald Trump asked three times about the ability to use nuclear weapons against places like and he named North Korea. We have nuclear weapons, why can't we use them? We asked General Hayden-
BRZEZINSKI: The process, how quick-
SCARBOROUGH: -about the clear and present danger of Donald Trump. If he were president, and he had nuclear weapons or he was in a nuclear showdown, were there any checks? And General Hayden chillingly said: well, unfortunately, that process is built for speed, not for checks and balances. And so, as I said earlier today, all the warning signs are there.
It’s worth pointing out here that Trump’s campaign denied the claim that he asked why he couldn’t use nuclear weapons. Also, this claim originated from Joe Scarborough himself (and some anonymous “foreign policy expert”). Because there is no audio, video, or even the name of the “expert,” it’s not possible to evaluate Scarborough’s claims, but given his misinterpretations of things we know Trump has said, one shouldn’t take Joe’s claims at face value.
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Back to the segment:
SCARBOROUGH: As I said earlier today, when there's a nuclear incident and a million people in Seattle or Los Angeles or San Francisco die, or all the dependents in South Korea, 100,000 Americans are slaughtered in, you know, a day's worth of fighting. At that point it will be too late for Republicans to say: oh, I get it.
ELISE JORDAN [MSNBC, POLITICAL ANALYST]: [softly interjecting] Yeah.
SCARBOROUGH: Okay? You know what, maybe I should have said this in front of the camera. You know, we're talking about Hollywood has a responsibility to talk about Harvey Weinstein. Hey! Republicans really have a responsibility to talk about the imminent threat that they know because they've seen behind the scenes that this man poses to the safety and the security of the United States of America. And by the way, it's October 9th, 2017. [holds up New York Times] I'm holding it up. All right? I'm not saying this because I feel like saying it. I'm not saying this, I'm saying this ‘cause I'm going to show you this when something really bad happens. And I'm gonna ask you where you were. Because you know, Republicans on the Senate. You know, Republicans in the House. Because you've told me. This man is not fit to be President of the United States. So Elise, too late for ‘em.
JORDAN: Well here’s what-
SCARBOROUGH: [interrupting] Too late after 100,000 Americans die, in Seoul.
JORDAN: After a nuclear holocaust.
SCARBOROUGH: Or after a million die in Seattle.
BRZEZINSKI: And that's where we are. This is not an exaggeration.
We are at the point where America might be nuked because decades of U.S. foreign policy towards North Korea have failed to curtail the totalitarian regime's nuclear ambitions, not because Trump called Kim “Rocket Man” and promised to defend America and our allies from nuclear threats. It was extremely disturbing to see Morning Joe once again put moral responsibility not on a violent dictator for his threats, but on their own President instead.
However, the panelists were not done there. Elise Jordan conjured up the spectre of Trump starting a nuclear war purely for political domestic benefit, suggesting that this was a real possibility:
[A]nd this is what has concerned me all along. I've worried about how Donald Trump would behave when given the power of nuclear weapons, and a nuclear arsenal. He has been fascinated for decades with nuclear weapons, and he has, thinks that he could be the great negotiator about nuclear weapons. And though we had all this non-interventionist talk during the Republican primary, we've seen that it's basically hollow and shallow and meaningless. And I think he would have no compunction about going to war if it served a political purpose. He's shown himself to be completely craven when it comes to using the oval office for his own political means.
If Trump had no compunctions about starting wars for political benefit, why did he not attack Syria and overthrow Assad earlier this year when most of the political establishment appeared to want him to do so? Why has he not attacked North Korea yet if he’s so crazy? Why not Iran?
No one bothered to ask any such basic questions.