Editor's note: Explicit language below.
On Friday’s Morning Joe, the show’s liberal pundits could not contain their shock and horror at yesterday’s news that President Trump allegedly called Haiti, El Salvador, and several African nations “shithole countries.” While co-host Joe Scarborough saw the incident as more evidence that Trump is “in the early stages of dementia,” guest panelist Donny Deutsch and MSNBC National Affairs Analyst John Heilemann saw far more sinister undertones in Trump’s comments.
Deutsch thought that it was especially “evil” and “racist” that Trump expressed a preference for Norwegian immigrants, seeing this as evidence that Trump only wants to let “Aryans” into the country. For his part, Heilemann was content with claiming that Trump regards Haitians as “less than human” because they are “brown-skinned.”
Scarborough’s latest attempt at playing armchair psychiatrist came early in the show when co-host Willie Geist asked Joe for his initial reaction to Trump’s remarks. Scarborough responded:
[F]irst of all, it's just so deeply offensive. I can't imagine any other president, uh, ever serving in that office making, uh, such derogatory comments, first of all because they're morally, uh, ins-, they’re, they’re immoral. They're, they’re insensitive. Uh, they undercut allies, important allies. And, and so, it just -- it’s beyond the pale. But secondly, uh, politically, uh, if, if, if you are working inside the White House and your goal is to try to prove that this is a rational, sane president, that this is not a president who’s lost his step mentally, if this is not a president in the early stages of dementia, uh, that, that, that can't control some of the things that, that he blurts out of his mouth, this comes at a particularly bad time, certainly following all the revelations of the Wolff book.
Later during the same segment, Deutsch made his case that Trump’s comments were a clear sign of the President’s desire to select immigrants on the basis of Nazi Germany’s beliefs about “Aryan” racial superiority. But first, Scarborough set him up with a polemic about how Trump believes in an immigration policy “favor[ing] whites over all others”:
[I]n the 1950s, perhaps, this would be an argument that might sway the majority of Americans to go out, whether they say it to pollsters or not, and vote for those candidates that supported those sort of, uh, policies that favored whites over all others. [...] I promise for people that are watching out there, you think there are that many racists out there, you are wrong. This -- women are rising up. Minorities are rising up. Black Americans rose up, uh, in Alabama. Young Americans will rise up. I, I -- this is not wishful thinking. This is reality. This is the death knell for the Republican Party of Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell. It, i-, just -- give us an example of, like, what if Chevrolet decided they were going to offend two-thirds of the country. How long would Chevy be selling trucks?
Deutsch responded by affirming that “[y]eah, uh, Chevy would be out of business” before rambling somewhat incoherently about how the Virginia and Alabama election results showed that Scarborough’s points about America not being as racist as Trump were correct. At that point, Deutsch, with an assist from Heilemann, launched into his “Trump is a Nazi” tirade:
DEUTSCH: I think there’s a word we have to start to use with Donald Trump in addition to all of the crazy talk we have right now. I just -- if you take Charlottesville and his, his blessing and, and love of or kinship with understanding there are nice Nazis out there, if we take his, uh, implied support of a pedophile, and now if we take this a-, additional very clear racist thing—he is an evil man. You know, we don't talk about that a lot. We talk about he's insane and he’s crazy and he’s this. That's evil. You know, I, I -- thi-, this is just a [sic] evil, evil man. And to me, the kill shot in that quote was Norway.
DEUTSCH: You know, after that, it was -- if in any way you could twist that racist statement, but then you add in: But let's let the white guys in. And by the way, when I say white, Norway, you -- let's let the Aryans in. You know what I mean? You couldn't get any whiter than Nor- -- it wasn’t like: Let's let some more British in. Let’s let the Norwegians in, you know.
HEILEMANN: It’s like, it’s like upper Caucasians.
DEUTSCH: Yeah, you know. And, and, so, but -- we’re talking now -- our president is not only racist, is not only stupid, is not only imbalanced, he’s evil.
An hour later into the show, Heilemann returned to his musings about Trump having Nazi-esque racial beliefs, declaring with no evidence that Trump regards Haitian people as subhumans:
HEILEMANN: [W]e’ve talked about this all th-, this morning about, is if there’s, like, a binary here, a choice. Either Donald Trump is speaking from his heart or it's part of a political strategy.
EDDIE GLAUDE JR.: It’s both.
HEILEMANN: It really can be both.
[panel nods in agreement]
It’s, it’s, it is both. It is -- he has demonstrated throughout his life that he's a racist, and yet, he also has had as, as -- the reinforcement of behaving this way and win-, winning the presidency. So I think he's being perfectly political. I think he’s in that room, he’s with Democrats, he knows the things he says in the room are gonna get out. He’s also speaking his heart because he does think these countries and these people from those countries are less than human in some way. And so, you know, look, they're both true.
Heilemann’s prowess in regard to reading the deepest, darkest reaches of Trump’s mind today was nothing new. In December, responding to a New York Times report claiming that Trump likes to hate-watch CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, Heilemann claimed that Trump hates the CNN anchor due to the host’s African-American background.