Last Friday, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough fumed over accusations that he and “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski are way too buddy-buddy with Donald Trump.
“We’re getting a strange microscope as if we are incapable of asking Donald Trump tough questions. In the town hall you would see that we asked him every question, we pushed back,” he railed during a rant that lasted some ten minutes, according to the Daily Beast.
You may want to revise that claim, Joe.
Comedian and actor Harry Shearer managed to obtain some leaked audio recorded during the commercial breaks of Scarborough and Brzezinski’s town hall with Trump in South Carolina last week.
The chumminess of their interactions — “Nothing too hard, Mika,” Trump appears to instruct her when she wonders out loud if she should ask some questions about immigration — certainly will add to MSNBC’s headaches.
“You know what I thought was kind of a wow moment, was the guy you brought up on stage,” Brzezinski began by telling Trump.
“We played it several times this morning,” Scarborough put in.
“I watched your show this morning,” Trump responded. “You have me almost as a legendary figure, I like that.”
After that, Brzezinski thanked Trump for agreeing to the interview. “You, you get great ratings and a raise,” he told her. “Me, I get nothing.”
“This will make us all look good,” Trump said, to which Scarborough replied, “Exactly.”
Scarborough and Trump then chatted about their thoughts on his most recent debate performance. “The next morning when I saw the CBS poll, I knew that the people who mattered didn’t think you lost it,” Scarborough said. “I mean, you came in a strong second. And I’ll tell you what was the most revealing thing was [Jeb Bush] came in last, the guy you attacked.”
Brzezinski then tried to ask Scarborough about a question she planned to ask Trump, trying to be discrete but eventually giving away the subject. “Do you not want me to do, the um, the ones with, um, deportation?”
“We really do have to go to some questions,” Scarborough responded.
“That’s right,” Trump agreed, before joking, “Nothing too hard, Mika.”
“Okay,” Brzezinski can be heard telling someone. In the end, there were no questions about immigration or deportations during the town hall. At the same time, Scarborough can be heard discussing potential questions with a producer, and Trump makes a comment indicating he can’t hear what they’re talking about.
At the next break, Scarborough again discussed the upcoming questions. “I’ll talk about the Ron Fournier thing,” he said.
“Oh god!” Trump responded. “Leave him out of it.”
“He understands now,” Scarborough said of the National Journal editor, adding that The Washington Post‘s Chris Cilizza “has completely changed.”
“Three months ago, he went home,” he said of Fournier. “He’s from Michigan, and he got an earful went he went home, and so he changed things. And what he said was, ‘I am no longer going to attack the people who support Trump.’”
“Nice beautiful question, Mika,” Trump said as an aside towards the end of the audio.
“Nice beautiful question, Mika.” That’s some kind of journalism right there.