Political pundit Joe Scarborough has a Donald Trump problem, and that makes MSNBC have a Joe Scarborough problem.
While other networks, including the ultra-conservatives at Fox News, have been combative with Republican front-runner Trump, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough is cozying up to the unapologetic bigot in a way that has almost everyone at the progressive network extremely worried. It’s one thing to have a conservative pundit who can represent “the other side” of the aisle; it’s quite another when he’s the turning out to be a big fan of a racist, sexist demagogue.
CNN’s Dylan Byers spoke with numerous sources within MSNBC and found that there is broad agreement that Scarborough is embarrassing both himself and the network with the Trump love.
In background discussions, NBC News and MSNBC journalists, reporters and staffers said there was widespread discomfort at the network over Scarborough’s friendship with Trump and his increasingly favorable coverage of the candidate.
“People don’t like that Joe is promoting Trump,” one MSNBC insider said. Others described Scarborough’s admiration for Trump as “over the top” and “unseemly.”
Four of those sources also said that the growing media scrutiny over the two men’s relationship has caused the network’s leadership to more closely monitor Scarborough’s comments. “The higher-ups are definitely aware about what’s going on,” said another person within MSNBC. “It’s an issue.”
This comes just a few days after Scarborough was very publicly called out for visiting Trump in New Hampshire on the night of the election to celebrate his landslide victory. The next day, Trump went on Morning Joe to personally thank Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski for their “support” for his campaign. It raised more than a few eyebrows.
Hilariously, Scarborough seemed to deny both that he went to Trump’s hotel room (he did) and that he “supported” Trump (he does). This sharply contrasts with the reality, which is that Scarborough has consistently painted Trump in a positive light.
In recent weeks, Scarborough has spoken about Trump in increasingly glowing terms, praising him as “a masterful politician” and defending him against his political opponents and media critics. The Washington Post has noted that Trump has received “a tremendous degree of warmth from the show,” and that his appearances on the show, in person and over the phone, often feel like “a cozy social club.”
Scarborough also confessed that he coached Trump during his debate prep.
Listening to Scarborough talk about Trump and it’s obvious there is a lot of admiration there. Trump’s blustering stupidity Scarborough mistakes for decisiveness. He may be a small government ideologue, but he likes that Trump wants total control over everything. It’s a tyrannical bent that appeals to a guy like Scarborough who views anyone who uses diplomacy or thoughtful, measured responses as “weak.”
Hey Iran, you have exactly 300 days left to push a US president around. Enjoy it while you can. After that, there will be hell to pay.
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) January 12, 2016
This is, of course, a nightmare for MSNBC’s reputation. Donald Trump might rev Scarborough’s engine, but the Republican candidate has consistently demonstrated that he is a racist, xenophobic, hate-mongering narcissist. He has absolutely no realistic policy plans (building a great wall on the border with Mexico doesn’t count) and no political experience. Watching one of MSNBC’s star hosts worship a guy like this is difficult to endure.
Featured image from MSNBC