Scoop: Biden's 'Obsessed' with Morning Joe, Calls Scarborough 'Often,' Vents About Media

February 2nd, 2024 7:51 AM

Alex Thompson, a White House reporter for Axios, has a new scoop titled "Inside Biden's obsession with 'Morning Joe'." Thompson explored how "Biden's years-long love of MSNBC's staple morning show" affects how the White House runs — and who Biden listens to. It might also explain why MSNBC added an hour to the show.

Zoom in: The president often calls co-host Joe Scarborough — a former Republican congressman who's now a harsh critic of Donald Trump — to get Scarborough's take on issues and sometimes vent about media coverage, according to people familiar with the relationship.

  • During the day, Biden has long asked his staff whether they saw a story, a poll, or a segment that had been on the show. He's included show regulars in off-the-record conversations with policy experts.
  • Biden pays particular attention to — and has consulted with — "Morning Joe" regulars such as longtime reporter Mike Barnicle, foreign policy expert Richard Haass and historian Jon Meacham, who has assisted on several Biden speeches.

Vice President Kamala Harris watches "Morning Joe," too: She and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff hosted a dinner last month at the vice presidential residence for Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, his co-host and wife.

Because Biden watches "Morning Joe" so often, most of his top aides watch or track the show to anticipate potential questions from him. "Biden aides have remarked how longtime Biden aide Steve Ricchetti seems to watch much of the four-hour show every morning. He and other aides often reference the show."

That also means they get on-air interviews. Scarborough interviewed Biden last year. Brzezinski sat down with First Lady Jill Biden in January. In early 2021, Kamala Harris was wary of a Mika interview request, but "The West Wing stepped in and insisted she do it because of how important that relationship is for them" and Biden, a former Harris aide told Axios.

The president apparently also favors CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS, and Biden gave him an opportunity for a softball interview.

Biden consults widely with "Morning Joe" contributors. The president has included retired Adm. James Stavridis, a Scarborough regular, in an off-the-record briefing at the White House with other experts.

This relationship is so close that Joe and Mika and their contributors would not comment on the record. They might have commented if any of it were untrue. 

This is funny: "A White House official told Axios that many of Biden's top staff members think the show gives Biden a fairer shake on issues than other news shows and media outlets." Translation: they're suckups, just like they used to be for Donald Trump.