Morning Joe's Surprising Sympathy For 'Penniless' Rudy, Sharp Elbows For Vivek

August 24th, 2023 10:41 AM

Joe Scarborough George Conway MSNBC Morning Joe 8-24-23 On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough and George Conway showed surprising respect and sympathy for Rudy Giuliani in the wake of his booking in Georgia on RICO charges.

Scarborough in particular gave Rudy credit for his "extraordinary turnaround' of NYC as mayor, and for his leadership in the aftermath of 9/11. More in sorrow than in anger, Joe said, regarding Rudy's indictment, that "justice has to be done."

Conway made perhaps the most shocking statement of the morning, describing Rudy as "penniless and almost friendless." Conway wondered if Rudy would even be able to pay for a lawyer. 

And without gloating, Conway said that it was "stunning to see this fall, and it just keeps getting worse . . . I don't know where this goes for him, other than it's going to keep going down."

If the panel was sympathetic toward Rudy, it was very tough on Vivek Ramaswamy and his performance in last night's GOP presidential debate. With perhaps the nastiest line of the morning, in a double swipe at Vivek and the GOP, Charlie Sykes of The Bulwark said:

"The reality is, he is a shallow, shameless, facile demagogue. Which means he's probably going to get a bump in the polls, in the Republican polls. "

Making a boxing analogy, Al Sharpton piled on Vivek, saying that Vivek had good early rounds, but that he couldn't take a punch, and that Nikki Haley scored a TKO on him. That was a reference to Haley hitting Vivek with this line during the debate: "you have no foreign policy experience, and it shows." Ouch.

Morning Joe showing sympathy and respect for Rudy Giuliani in the wake of his Georgia indictment, but being highly critical of Vivek Ramaswamy was sponsored in part by Liberty Mutual, Volkswagen, and GlaxoSmithKline, maker of Trelegy.

Here's the transcript.

Morning Joe
6:06 am EDT

JOE SCARBOROUGH: George, let me go to you. I think you probably, like me, look at what Rudy Giuliani did, and unlike a lot of people maybe watching, look what Rudy Giuliani did in New York City, along with, again, everybody else. Whatever you credit Giuliani for anything, and the turnaround of New York, everybody says, "well, what about this?" We'll throw everybody in there, I'll even throw David Dinkins in there. 

But [Rudy] was mayor when there was an extraordinary turnaround of New York City. And I've got to say, one of the great accomplishments, one of the great accomplishments for a city that I've seen in my lifetime. New York City from 1989, circa 1989 to 1990, to 1995, unrecognizable.

And, of course, many people very moved by what he did on 9/11. There were a couple days when George W. Bush just didn't find his footing, politically or rhetorically, or in a lot of other ways. Not really until he went to New York and stood on that pile of rubble.

And Giuliani was, for those days, for millions and millions of Americans, he was America's mayor. I look at that mug shot, and, listen, he deserves it. Justice has to be served. But what a sad, sad fall for a man who didn't have to be there.

GEORGE CONWAY: No, it's absolutely stunning. I remember being a law clerk in New York for the federal appeals court there in 1987 and '88. You know, he was U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. So basically, you know, 10% or 20% of the briefs were, you know, had his name on it. And he was defending RICO convictions, trying to get them affirmed. And now, he's charged with RICO.

And if you had told me then or if you had told me at the end of 2001 that 20 or 30 years later, he'd be a penniless, almost friendless, though he did have that private jet, I don't know where that came from, a criminal defendant in a Georgia state racketeering case, I would have looked at you like you were insane!

But that's where we are. It's just stunning to see this fall, and it just keeps getting worse. And it's hard to see, he can't even get a lawyer, he might not even be able to pay a lawyer.

I don't know where this goes for him, other than it's going to keep going down.

. . . 

CHARLIE SYKES: Vivek came in very, very strong, he's very, very facile. But you also saw his weaknesses later on when Nikki Haley took him down.

I thought Nikki Haley overperformed. I mean, she was impressive. She was the adult in the room. She was the adult in the room on spending, on abortion, on Ukraine. I also think that Mike Pence actually overperformed somewhat. But let's be honest here. They were not appealing to the readers of The Bulwark or the viewers of Morning Joe. It was Vivek who knew  exactly where all the erogenous zones of MAGA world were, and he played on them. He was playing to the ideological id.

He was, look, the reality is, he is a shallow, shameless, facile demagogue. Which means he's probably going to get a bump in the polls, in the Republican polls. He may be in second place by the end of all of this.

. . . 

AL SHARPTON: You know, I ran for president in 2004 in the Democratic primaries, and I can tell you, getting on the big stage is different than any pulpit I ever preached at and anything I've ever done.

And I watched to see how people could handle the big stage. And you know, I'm not a baseball or football fan like Joe and you, but I loved boxing. 

And Vivek got his title shot last night, and he was good until he got punched. It's not enough to throw a good punch. You gotta be able to take a punch. And Nikki Haley scored a TKO on him last night in front of the whole world. 

If I was vivek, I'd go back in the gym and let the trainer hit me. Because he can't take a hit.