It was good to see MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough finally go off on Donald Trump for his racism, but the truth is that Trump’s campaign has been offensive from the start — and Scarborough has been among those guilty of enabling it.
For Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski, apparently the final straw was Trump’s despicable attack on Judge Gonzalo Curiel -– a US citizen born to Mexican immigrants in Indiana -– solely because of his heritage.
“This judge is of Mexican heritage,” Trump unleashed last week. “I’m building a wall, OK? I’m building a wall. He’s a member of a society where, you know, very pro-Mexico. And that’s fine. But I think he should recuse himself.”
Earlier today, an apparently infuriated Scarborough lashed out at his former BFF:
“Now it’s people that may have — what is it, one-16th Mexican blood? If you’ve got one-16th Mexican blood that maybe you can’t be a judge. One-16th Muslim blood? I mean, this is unbelievable. He is getting worse, not better.”
Right, Joe, he’s not getting better — and you’ve been right there helping him get away with it.
Trump launched his campaign a year ago this month with bigoted attacks against Latinos. But rather than calling out that bigotry or pressing him on how he would enact his morally-bankrupt plan to deport 11 million people, Scarborough and Brzezinski chose ratings over integrity and coddled Trump.
Who can forget their infamous town hall with Trump earlier this year, when a hot mic not only caught the two getting coached by Trump on interview questions, but discussing his recent rally in breathless tones that would get any credible reporters accused of journalistic malpractice:
“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 discreet 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.
“Beautiful question, Mika” — yup, sounds like you’ve really been taking Trump to task, guys.
Thankfully, as WaPo’s Paul Waldman noted, “the media have reached a turning point in covering Donald Trump” — and Donald Trump “may not survive it.”
As we noted last weekend, CNN’s Jake Tapper did an exceptional job refusing to let Trump off the hook after he attempted to pivot from questions about his racist attacks. The rest of the media should follow Tapper’s lead and continue to pin down Trump’s views.
So, good on Scarborough for finally calling out Trump’s bigotry — but it really should have happened a year ago.