‘Morning Joe’ Mocks Dems Refusal to Say ‘Radical Islam’

On Monday, the panel on MSNBC’s Morning Joe repeatedly mocked the three Democratic presidential candidates over their refusal to use the term “radical Islam” following last Friday’s terrorist attack in Paris. 

After playing a clip from Saturday night’s Democratic presidential debate, co-host Joe Scarborough appeared shocked at their answers and proclaimed “How stupid do they think we are? How stupid? Nobody's calling all Muslims terrorists. Nobody's suggesting the majority of Muslims are terrorists. But how stupid do they think we are? You have to recognize the threat, the threat is radical Islam.”

Liberal journalist Mike Barnicle surprisingly agreed with Scarborough and stressed that saying “radical Islam” wouldn’t inflame ISIS anymore than they have already been: 

How is use of the phrase radical Islam going to inflame ISIS anymore than it's already inflamed? Radical Islam is basically just an aspect of the truth of what's going on. No country in the world has reached out to Muslims and Muslim communities around the world more than the United States.   

Scarborough went one step further and pointed out that after the Paris attacks Democrats have remained virtually silent and seem unwilling to discuss terrorism: 

We ask Democrats, top Democratic leaders to come on and everybody was busy today. Nobody wanted to talk about what poses a real threat to western civilization and you have Democrats...Why can’t you call radical Islam radical Islam? Because I’ll tell you if Southern Baptists were going around doing this, I sure as hell would be talking about how we have to hunt down and kill radical Southern Baptists that are shooting people in the streets of Paris. 

Republican strategist Steve Schmidt echoed Scarborough and Barnicle’s sentiments and ultimately suggested that the Democratic presidential candidates look weak when they refuse to call our enemy what it truly is: 

[Y]ou look at the fecklessness of these answers by these candidates, simply shocking. It is radical Islam. No one is suggesting that it is all of Islam. But it is radical Islam and they are not willing to say at least even what general Sisi, the leader of Egypt has said in confronting the nature of the threat in talking directly, to talking directly about it. And so we have to name the name. We have to communicate clearly who it is that we're fighting in order to understand directly what it is that we are fighting.

See relevant transcript below. 

MSNBC’s Morning Joe 

November 16, 2015

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: We'll start with the candidates, the three Democratic candidates for president, were back on the campaign trail yesterday. A day after their second debate. The Paris attacks were a major focus of Saturday night’s debate and continued to overshadow the regular politics and policy yesterday of the campaign on the trail. Here's how the candidates responded when they were asked to characterize the threat posed with like-minded terrorists around the world. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Secretary Clinton, you mentioned radical jihadist. 

HILLARY CLINTON: Yes.

DICKERSON: Marco Rubio, also running for president, said that this attacked showed, the attack in Paris, showed that we are at war with radical Islam. Do you agree with that characterization radical Islam? 

CLINTON: I don't think we're at war with Islam. I don't think we're at war with all Muslims. I think we're at war with jihadists who have– 

DICKERSON: Just to interrupt. He didn’t say all Muslims. He just said radical Islam. Is that a phrase you don't -- 

CLINTON: I think you can talk about Islamists who are clearly also jihadists. But I think it's not particularly helpful to make the case that Senator Sanders was just making that I agree with that we’ve got to reach out to Muslim countries, we’ve got to have them be part of our coalition. 

DICKERSON: Just very quickly, radical Islam, do either of you use that phrase? 

BERNIE SANDERS: I don't think the term is what's important. What is important to understand is we have organizations whether it's ISIS or Al Qaeda who do believe we should go back several thousand years, we should make women third class citizens, that we should allow children to be sexually assaulted. That they are a danger to modern society and that this world with American leadership can and must come together to destroy them. We can do that. 

DICKERSON: The critique is that the softness of language betrays a softness of approach. So, if this language, if you don't call it by what it is, how can your approach be effective to the cause? That's the critique. 

MARTIN O’MALLEY: I believe calling it like it is, it’s to say radical jihadist. That’s to call it what it is. But John let's not fall into the trap of thinking that all of our Muslim American neighbors in this country are somehow our enemies here. They are our first line of defense. 

JOE SCARBOROUGH: I mean, how stupid do they think we are? How stupid do they think we are? How stupid? Nobody's calling all Muslims terrorists. Nobody's suggesting the majority of Muslims are terrorists. But how stupid do they think we are? You have to recognize the threat, the threat is radical Islam. 

MIKE BARNICLE: How is use of the phrase radical Islam going to inflame ISIS anymore than it's already inflamed? Radical Islam is basically just an aspect of the truth of what's going on. No country in the world has reached out to Muslims and Muslim communities around the world more than the United States. 

SCARBOROUGH: None. And by the way, we absorb Muslims better than any country in the world, non-Muslim country in the world which is why we haven't had as many problems as say France has. Steve Schmidt, I was looking at the guest this morning and they're mainly Republicans coming on. We ask Democrats, top Democratic leaders to come on and everybody was busy today.

Nobody wanted to talk about what poses a real threat to western civilization and you have Democrats. I'll just say, I’ll be Denzel Washington in Philadelphia. I don't get it. Talk to me like a fourth grader. Why can’t you call radical Islam radical Islam? Because I’ll tell you if Southern Baptists were going around doing this, I sure as hell would be talking about how we have to hunt down and kill radical Southern Baptists that are shooting people in the streets of Paris. 

STEVE SCHMIDT: When you look at the strength and resolve shown by Democratic presidents in the history of this country, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, American leaders, absolutely willing to talk directly and honestly to the American people about the nature of the threat and then you look at the fecklessness of these answers by these candidates, simply shocking. It is radical Islam.

No one is suggesting that it is all of Islam. But it is radical Islam and they are not willing to say at least even what general Sisi, the leader of Egypt has said in confronting the nature of the threat in talking directly, to talking directly about it. And so we have to name the name. We have to communicate clearly who it is that we're fighting in order to understand directly what it is that we are fighting.

NBDaily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Foreign Policy MSNBC Morning Joe Joe Scarborough Mike Barnicle Steve Schmidt

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