MSNBC’s Morning Joe decided on Wednesday to engage in comically dumb wishcasting about President Biden’s State of the Union address, insisting Tuesday’s speech was “brilliant,” “rallying,” a “return to normalcy,” and “very unifying” as it showcased “the expanse of his personality in full blossom” and why Biden was made for this moment amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Syrupy love notes aside, the show had plenty of nutty takes, such as an insane explanation for why Russian dictator Vladimir Putin didn’t invade under Donald Trump and then, separately, an offensive comparison between Ukrainians fighting the Russian military and so-called voting rights activists in the U.S.
Co-host Joe Scarborough swooned four minutes into the show that Tuesday night was “a return to normalcy” as Biden didn’t do “a lot of puffing of one's chest” or make “Mussolini-type gestures,” and instead gave “a unifying speech” that doubled as “a defense of western democracy” and “values.”
In the 7:00 a.m. Eastern hour, Scarborough told frequent panelist Mike Barnicle that it was “an important reset for the Joe Biden presidency” based in moderation like Bill Clinton in speaking to “middle-class people” on immigration, price controls, supporting Made in the USA products, and soaking the rich.
Barnicle agreed, describing Biden’s speech as having illustrated “the difficulty and the expanse of the job of being president” navigating “a fire hose of issues.”
Fawning over how he talked about Ukraine, wishing a little boy happy birthday, and expressed “frustrat[ion]” at the slowed pace of reopening schools and workplaces, Barnicle said it showed “the expanse of his personality in full blossom” on “a very, very solid night for” Biden the President, commander in chief, and “citizen.”
In the next hour, longtime MSNBC host and NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell swooned that Biden was made for this time (click “expand”):
MITCHELL: He should have done more on Ukraine. What he did on Ukraine was brilliant, was rallying, was bipartisan. It just felt he left it too soon to go through a more traditional State of the Union. I get that he wanted to revive his Democratic agenda, domestic agenda. I thought very smart on funding — funding the police, very smart on COVID, could have not dealt with the other stuff.
MITCHELL: Just focus on talking about why we care, why should we care about Ukraine.
BRZEZINSKI: It’s a massive —
MITCHELL: This is —
BRZEZINSKI: — world moment.
MITCHELL: — yeah — this is — this is a moment in history.
MITCHELL: He is perfectly positioned by his training, by his leadership on the Foreign Relations Committee, by his devotion to all these issues and this is his moment. And why do we care this is democracy versus autocracies. This is a moment we haven't seen since, you know, the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Swamp denizen also lashed out at the Trump administration, saying NATO’s united front against Russia was due to “all the spade work done by this administration to repair the damage over the last four years, the previous four years, all that work, all those trips and the meetings[.]”
Going to the mind-numbingly dumb takes, former Democratic Senator-turned-MSNBC pundit Clare McCaskill offered an incoherent take about why the Russian invasion of Ukraine was Trump’s fault even though it’s happened on Biden’s watch and why Putin wasn’t waiting for a possible Trump return to the White House.
Of course, the panel went right along with it (click “expand”):
MCCASKILL: And I do want to point out, I think one of the things we haven't talked about enough in this, is the reason that Putin was so pro-Trump is he was counting on Trump to get the United States out of NATO. That's what Putin wanted. That's why he waited. He thought if he could get Trump a second term, he would finally bust up NATO and that's how he builds his empire back. And that is what this nutjob wants. He wants to go back to an empire. He wants all the countries that broke away from the USSR to come back under the Russian umbrella and the key to that is busting up NATO. And Donald Trump was his best friend —
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Yep.
MCCASKILL: — in trying to bust up NATO. That's why he didn't go under Trump. That's why he is going now because he saw this as his last opportunity, when he believed there was still divisions within NATO and divisions of such in the United States that would weaken us.
MCCASKILL: We weren't as prepared as we should have been, but we’re — I think we are a hell of a lot more prepared than Putin thought we would be.
BRZEZINSKI: It’s chilling, but everything Trump was doing as it pertains to Russia and secret meetings and cozying up to Putin —
BRZEZINSKI: — getting dirt on a political rival, it kind of explains where we are today. It set the scene. It set the stage.
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah and John Bolton actually laid it out very clearly. There — there’s a reason why he was trying to gut NATO for four years and why he openly had contempt for NATO.
BRZEZINSKI: Trashed it.
SCARBOROUGH: And the reason why is we're seeing right now just how powerful NATO can be when the United States is behind it.
Speaking of incoherence, PoliticsNation host Al Sharpton twice compared those fighting for Ukraine to folks like himself wanting to see a massive federal power grab of our electoral systems.
In the first instance, Sharpton told the panel to “remember” that, “as we are talking about protecting democracy Ukraine, we have laws being changed to repress the vote in the United States” and “[y]ou can't be a global democratic defender and a domestic allower of — of repressing the vote.”
“[W]e have a domestic threat to voting as we protect the right of the people — to self-determination in Ukraine,” he added.
Later, Sharpton insisted Americans “have...support here at home” for “democratic principles” as we do in Ukraine because the “the right of people in Texas and North Carolina, Georgia, etc. to vote” matters too.
“I think it's a challenge both for the Ukrainian people at the border and a challenge to Democrats in the United States...You cannot stand up to Putin and have a little Putin-ism in your own backyard,” he explained, comparing those who disagree with him politically to Russian soldiers committing what many view as war crimes.
To see the relevant MSNBC transcript from March 2, click here.