Over the course of his presidency, President Donald Trump has hurled invective at any variety of TV journalists, whether or not it’s Don Lemon, Arthel Neville, Neil Cavuto, Nicolle Wallace, Brian Williams, Chris Cuomo, Leland Vittert, Peter Alexander, Yamiche Alcindor, Weija Jiang, Jon Karl or Paula Reid. However he appears to launch his worst materials at Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
Trump’s continued efforts to fire up debunked conspiracy theories a few former staffer in Scarborough’s Florida congressional workplace symbolize simply his newest try to smear the information hosts. In 2018, some folks could recall – it’s onerous to do given the sheer quantity of White Home name-calling – Trump prompted shock when he made remarks about Brzezinski’s look. “Loopy Mika” and “Psycho Joe” are phrases he has tried to make frequent, although the hosts have with Willie Geist maintained one of many longest-running anchor groups on a nationwide morning-news program (solely HLN’s “Morning Specific” crew have been collectively longerWhile the choice to remain on the helm of a A.M. information program could require a point of madness, an individual and not using a functioning cerebrum would discover doing so troublesome.
Why is the MSNBC duo continuously within the cross-hairs of Trump’s White Home (no offense to Geist, who appears to have escaped presidential opprobrium – for now)? Merely put, “Morning Joe” has one thing Trump needs.
Many Republicans have thrown their lot in with this President, however a sure stripe has not. These embrace a swath of right-of-center operatives that vary from Senator Mitt Romney to political strategist and former John McCain adviser Steve Schmidt. Scarborough is amongst their quantity. A former Republican Congressman, he has lengthy burnished his GOP bona fides. Within the Trump period, nevertheless, these credentials have made him and Brzezinski a goal.
“Clearly, Scarborough is a ‘By no means Trumper’ who has constantly attacked Trump ever since he ran for president and Trump has returned the favor in spades,” says Mark Feldstein, chair of broadcast journalism at College of Maryland. “ And Scarborough’s morning present is a viewing staple contained in the Washington Beltway – for Trump it represents the center of the GOP institution that opposed him and the president undoubtedly enjoys poking it within the eye.”
Intriguingly, “Morning Joe” has thrived, not faltered, through the Trump presidency. Viewership in the important thing demographic for information applications – folks between 25 and 54, rose 113% between the 2014-15 and the 2018-19 TV seasons. MSNBC stated lately that this system snared a median of 1.four million viewers in April – the best stage the cable community has achieved in that point slot over the course of its historical past.
On Wednesday’s “Morning Joe” broadcast, Scarborough made plain that Trump’s revival of outdated canards concerning the 2001 dying of Lori Klausutis, a former staffer who handed away as she labored in a satellite tv for pc workplace whereas he served in Congress, was, finally, painful. “The cruelty is unspeakable,” Scarborough stated, noting that rumors have been dredged up by folks on the left as effectively. “It has been occurring for 19 years. Donald Trump is true. It wasn’t his authentic scummy thought.”
The “Morning Joe” hosts don’t take to TV day-after-day in hopes of sparring with the White Home. In two conversations with Variety in recent times, Scarborough and Brzezinski have expressed remorse at being made Trump targets. “Oh my gosh, I don’t assume it helped,” Brzezinski stated in an interview earlier this yr concerning the president’s 2018 insults.
However they’ve additionally made it clear they will’t endorse Trump’s insurance policies or the route by which his administration hopes to tug America. “You possibly can’t cheer in opposition to the president with out cheering in opposition to the nation that he runs. I felt that manner about Barack Obama, whose insurance policies I opposed. I really feel that manner about Donald Trump, whose insurance policies I oppose,” Scarborough stated in a 2017 interview. “When you might have a president calling the media “the enemy of the folks” — utilizing Stalinist phrases that even Russia outlawed after Stalin died — when you might have a sitting president query the legitimacy of a federal decide, then you definitely begin to have issues unwind in entrance of your eyes that, if adopted to their logical conclusion, would result in constitutional crises.”
“Morning Joe” viewers don’t tune in to listen to Geist, Brzezinski and Scarborough reward the White Home. They watch as a result of they wish to get a way of the chatter happening amongst coverage makers, congressional staffers and different Washington influencers. “We all know the president is watching or the senators are within the health club watching or Home members are watching. The media is watching,” Scarborough informed Variety earlier this yr. “I don’t know, I really feel somewhat extra duty than I could have earlier than Trump.”
So long as he does, Scarborough has one thing Trump needs: the fealty of reasonable Republicans. There’s no purpose to grant it now.