Joe Scarborough usually sets the tone on Morning Joe. But today, Mika Brzezinski took the lead, booting Florida Governor Rick Scott from the show for his refusal to comment substantively on Donald Trump's statement yesterday that "Islam hates us."
As Scott repeated various bland statements about Florida, Mika could be heard muttering "wrap it" and "no, no." After a final try at getting Scott to respond, Mika curtly announced "we will move on now. Thanks." When the show returned after a break, Mika excoriated Scott, calling his performance "weak, sniveling political wavering," saying he was "pathetic" and that he shoudn't be governor if he couldn't answer the question.
Note: just prior to Scott's appearance, Joe Scarborough had gone on a protracted tirade against Trump's "Islam hates us." So the topic was still very hot when Scott showed up.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: So you're a friend of Donald Trump. Will you tell Donald Trump that he should walk back his statement that Muslims, that Islam hates America, that Islam hates us? Do you think Muslims in the state of Florida hate America?
RICK SCOTT: Well, as you know, in Florida we're the best melting pot in the world. We love everybody coming to our state. After the Paris bombings I did ask the federal government to not allow any more Syrian refugees to come in to Florida until we vetted them. I'm still concerned that the federal government's not vetting them. But that's what my concern is.
JOE: That could be a reasonable policy position if you wanted to debate that and we can debate that issue. I'm just asking generally, do you think that Muslims hate Americans? That Islam hates America as Donald Trump said last night?
SCOTT: Well, I can tell you what's going on in Florida --
MIKA BRZEZINSKI No, no. That's not the question. Stop --
JOE: No, no, no, no. I don't want to know what's going on in Florida.
SCOTT: We're headed in the right direction --
JOE: I want to know what's going on in your head, governor. We're friends. I want you to answer the question. Do you personally think that Islam is a religion that hates America?
SCOTT: So, Joe, what I can tell you in our state is we have a lot of Muslims that live in our state --
MIKA: Wrap it.
SCOTT: We've got a lot of Latin Americans living in our state. We all get along. We love people moving to our state and coming here as tourists. We're a great melting pot. That's what I can tell you about our state.
SCOTT: Donald Trump, he can talk about the things he wants to talk about. Marco Rubio can, Ted Cruz, John Kasich.
MIKA: No. No. Uh-uh. That's not answering any questions.
SCOTT: But I love the debate's in Florida. I'm going to be there --
MIKA: Rick, Rick, Rick, Rick, Rick. I know you and Joe are friends and this is kind of awkward. But can you answer the question or should we scoot?
SCOTT: Well, I can tell you that, you know, I'm glad everybody's in Florida. We're doing well here. The debate's going to be fun tongith. I hope they talk about jobs. It's the most important issue.
MIKA: Governor Rick Scott, thanks for being on. We will, uh, move on now. Thanks. Morning Joe will be right back.
[After a break]
MIKA: So Joe, I know you and Rick have been friends for a long time, sorry if that was awkward for you but you know what, that's just not what we do on our show.
JOE: No, no, you know ---
MIKA: If you can't answer -- it's like asking him what one plus one is . . . That was weak, sniveling, political wavering. I mean, I've never seen, I doubt his endorsement would have any impact anyway, so, forget it. Sorry . . . I would suggest if you are a governor of a state you should be able to answer that question and you should be able to say those things, and if you can't, you really shouldn't be the governor of a state, especially Florida. That was pathetic! I think I better move to break . . . But he could not answer the question as to whether or not it's okay to say that Islam hates America. He couldn't do it. That's pathetic.
JOE: I know, I understand.
STEVE RATTNER: He could answer, he chose not to answer.
JOE: He wouldn't answer it.
MIKA: He chose not to answer. He chose to be weak. And so we had him leave the show because we're not doing that.