The events of January 6, Donald Trump meeting with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, and Trump writing about terminating parts of the Constitution are arguably a gift trifecta greater than anything Joe Scarborough ever got on Christmas. Because Scarborough sees them as giving him an all-purpose cudgel with which to bash conservatives and defend Joe Biden, no matter the issue.
Take Friday's Morning Joe for example. The issue was Biden's decision to trade the Merchant of Death for a basketball player—Brittney Griner. Instead of making any serious effort to defend Biden's deal on the merits, Scarborough went on the attack against the alleged hypocrisy of "Trumpy right-wingers," citing that gift trifecta. And naturally, Scarborough broke out his favorite word, "fascist," employing it multiple times in his attack.
Scarborough's attack on conservatives was a classic straw man diversion. Many non-conservatives, including MSNBC's own contributors, have criticized Biden's swap.
Thus, during the same segment, MSNBC security analyst Marc Polymeropoulos, a former member of the CIA's Senior Intelligence Service, offered several criticisms of the deal. He noted that the US "lost leverage" through the release of arms dealer Viktor Bout, and that "we did reward hostage-taking." He said that if his former colleagues in the intelligence community were not precisely "aghast" at the deal, "they did have raised eyebrows."
Even Morning Joe regular Katty Kay of the BBC, certifiably not one of those crazed "right-wingers," criticized the deal. She prefaced her criticism, in a gesture to maintain her liberal street cred, by saying that "cries of outrage" from the Trump wing of the GOP should be "dismiss[ed] outright."
But Kay went on to say:
"Everyone can be delighted that Brittney Griner's coming home, with some real reservations about the swap that was done here. You think back to the Cold War in America, swaps spy-for-spy, businessman for businessman. It was very much a direct and fairly equal exchange that was usually made. Here, you had a very unequal exchange that was made in terms of the severity of the crime of the people that were being swapped . . . It's understandable that people are concerned about the swap."
And there was some unintentional humor from Al Sharpton. The immodest Reverend managed to thank God for... himself! He said: "Thank God for those of us who stood by Cherelle, [Griner's] wife."
Note that Scarborough tacitly admitted that it was a bad deal, saying that the negotiation was "asymmetric," i.e., unequal, and further that "sometimes we do things that don't line up squarely on the page."
Translation: yeah, Biden caved to Putin, but just think of the photo-ops the Democrats will get out of this! Is a White House visit with Biden in Brittney's future?
And whereas Sharpton said that we shouldn't be trying to pick winners in the deal, Scarborough revealed that he literally saw the matter as a political "game." He said the conservatives' criticisms of the Biden swap "pale" in comparison to Trumpy Republicans' support of "fascist" Trump. Crowed Scarborough: "game over! Game over!" Exposing just how unseriously he approached the issue, Scarborough ended the segment with a little musical coda: "Dah-dah-dah-dah-dah dah!"
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough suggesting conservatives have no right to criticize Pres. Biden's deal to trade a notorious arms merchant for Brittney Griner was sponsored by Pfizer, maker of Centrum, Liberty Mutual, GlaxoSmithKline, maker of Voltaren, and Volkswagen.
Here's the transcript.
MSNBC's Morning Joe
6:11 am ET
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Reverend Al, at the end of the day, though, somebody talked yesterday about the fact that if you're Iran, if you are Russia, if you are ISIS, if you're a terrorist organization or a terrorist state, as these states are now, you can, you don't value human life, so you can engage in asymmetric warfare, you can engage in asymmetric negotiation.
And we understand that. We're Americans. We actually value human life. We actually value Americans getting home. And sometimes, yes, sometimes we do things that don't line up squarely on the page. But we do it because we're Americans and because we want to bring everybody home.
AL SHARPTON: It's really a question of values, and I think you're correct to say our values are different. Certainly, President Biden knew all of the downside when he did it. But our values told him that the life of Brittney Griner and for that matter, Paul Whelan, that they are continuing to negotiate for, overrules the global political setup that you might say who's winning on this one, who's winning on that one.
I do think, however, that Putin risks a lot of people now that are coming to Russia, helping as Brittney Griner did, their sports teams, saying well, maybe I shouldn't go to Russia.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh yeah.
SHARPTON: I mean, this could be something that Russian people could understand that they would suffer from, because if this was the way Brittney was going to be treated, I don't know if I would want to go to Russia and play on their sports team as she did, and was treated as a pawn like this.
But thank God she's home. Thank God for those of us who stood by Cherelle, her wife. And thank God for the high moral ground of the Whelan family, not demonstrated by some right-wingers that tried to act like this shouldn't have happened. The Whelans, who had more skin in the game, as we say, than anyone --
SCARBOROUGH: -- Right.
SHARPTON: Took the high road and showed a real example. And let's continue to pray for Paul.
SCARBOROUGH: And how fascinating that so many of those right-wingers were talking about how she may have kneeled in protest at times during the national anthem, not showing proper respect to the flag.
A lot of these same people never once criticized the thugs, the insurrectionists, the terrorists, that used the American flag that our men and women fought and died for for over 200 years, used it to bludgeon police officers, and set up an American flag as a weapon of death.
So, again, the hypocrisy is just overwhelming. But --
SHARPTON: I never heard Brittney, Joe, say she wanted to undermine the U.S. Constitution, either.
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah! Or hang out with fascists, exactly. Again, it's very interesting these days. I'm finding more and more, Rev, these days, that the things that Trumpy supporters, the things they have to do to try to find something to criticize others for.
It all pales in comparison with them still supporting a fascist who sits down and has dinners with fascists, who won't criticize fascists who won't apologize for sitting down and having dinner with fascists. And who says he wants to, quote, terminate the United States Constitution.
I'm sorry: game over. You can't, you can't criticize somebody for jaywalking if you actually are supporting the guy who wants to terminate the United States Constitution. Game over. Dah-dah-dah-dah-dah dah!