Joe Scarborough needs to return to the rest retreat. Two weeks wasn't enough to cure an apparently late-stage case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Last week, after Scarborough had been missing from Morning Joe action for several days, his wife and co-host Mika Brzezinski tweeted that the reason he was taking "a week or to [sic] off" was because "I told him to."
Mika didn't specify why she told Joe to take a break, but we can offer some guesses. She was concerned about his state of mind. Back in November, after one of Joe's rants, we caught Mika literally hanging her head in embarrassment and concern.
Mika's concern became explicit in April. As we reported, when Joe's screaming fit got so extreme that it literally overwhelmed the studio's sound system, Mika gently asked, "Are you okay?" and suggested Scarborough might want to go off set and listen to some favorite music to calm his frazzled nerves.
Here's a partial transcript:
6:00 am EDT
JOE SCARBOROUGH: All you had to do [odd, nervous giggling] was look at the president [during FNC interview with Chris Wallace]: confused, rattled, angry, ignorant.
. . .
He said back in January, only one person had it, from China, and soon they were going to be gone. Then in February he said, it was 15 people that had it: 15! In the whole United States, and soon it would be gone. In March, said it was going to go away magically by April, because it was going to be warm.
. . .
Says the United States is the envy of the world? We're a basket case. We're a laughingstock. [Starts shouting] We! Can't! Even! Go! To Europe! We can't go to Canada! We can't go to the Bahamas! The Bahaman [sic] government said this weekend. The Bahamian government this weekend said: Americans, stay away! Because you're such a basket case!
. . .
I'm serious: does he just think his supporters are so stupid that he can keep insulting them ever day?
. . .
[Shouting] Stop testing! Let's fly blind! Let's send people into small businesses and into restaurants who are sick. That will make them shut down again!
. . .
Giving up on this president because he continues to do things that not only undercuts the economy, not only undercuts the re-election campaign, but could kill small businesses, and kill people!
. . .
How do make sure that the 240-year history of the peaceful transition of power continues in this country? . . . I think the best and brightest minds in government and out of government now have to start using their imagination. Now have to start thinking outside the box. Now have to start preparing for something that we haven't had to prepare for. And that is: how does our government, how does our military, how does the Secret Service, how quickly do the courts respond to a sitting president who is defeated at the ballot box and refuses to leave?
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: [Frantic tone] He has been practicing to push through stop signs every step of the way! At some point, our democracy--I don't think it's overstated--is at stake. Do you disagree?
Joe returned to the show this morning, and it was quickly apparent that his wounded psyche hadn't healed. He engaged in the same kind of extreme commentary and behavior as before his break. Among other things, Scarborough:
- Recycled his obsessive-compulsive shtick of quoting Trump's overly optimistic statements from the beginning of the pandemic.
- Fell into yet another screaming fit: "We! Can't! Even! Go! To Europe!"
- Accused President Trump of doing things that "kill people!"
- Trotted out the trope about Trump refusing to leave office and being a threat to our democracy. Urged the military and the Secret Service, among others, to prepare contingency plans for such an eventuality.
Sad! For the sake of Scarborough and those that care for him, it might be best for Joe to go on extended leave until after the election. If Biden wins, Scarborough can be cautiously brought back onto the air. If President Trump wins re-election, Joe should seriously consider permanent retirement. Returning to the show could present an unacceptable risk of permanent damage.
Note that rather than Joe getting better, Mika -- who suffers from her own case of TDS -- seemed if anything to be getting worse, perhaps as a result of increased exposure to Joe at home. She ended the segment by frantically declaring our democracy to be "at stake," and demanding of Jon Meacham, "Do you disagree?"