Joe Scarborough—former Republican Congressman, current co-host of Morning Joe, and erratic political columnist—has a complicated relationship with Donald Trump, who lifts the ratings of his morning MSNBC show but is also a bigot and maybe an actual fascist. Trump has even called Scarborough and his co-host Mika Brzezinski “supporters” and “believers” in his campaign—an understandable statement, given the free publicity Morning Joe has offered the Republican frontrunner. But now Scarborough, writing in The Washington Post, seems to have suddenly soured on Trump...over Trump’s predictable refusal to disavow David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan:
A simple “yes” would have worked. But on Sunday, Donald Trump swatted away the easy answers and instead feigned ignorance about the KKK and its most infamous Grand Wizard. The Republican frontrunner’s failure to provide what should have been a simple answer has raised even more disturbing questions about the man who is on course to lock down the GOP’s nomination for president.
It’s not quite clear whether Scarborough thinks he has the answers to these “disturbing questions.” A little further down, he writes:
Sunday’s distressing performance is just the latest in a string of incidents that suggest to critics that Donald Trump is using bigotry to fuel his controversial campaign.
Which could have just read, with zero loss of accuracy or meaning:
Donald Trump is using bigotry to fuel his controversial campaign.
But Scarborough’s outrage toward Trump isn’t shaped by the latter’s bigotry at all. It’s shaped by what Scarborough sees as the candidate’s lack of savvy. As his column concludes:
The harsher reality is that the next GOP nominee will be a man who refused to condemn the Ku Klux Klan and one of its most infamous Grand Wizards when telling the ugly truth wouldn’t have cost him a single vote.
He made the same point on this morning’s show:
And, we quote: “To say you don’t know about the Ku Klux Klan? You don’t know about David Duke? And the most stunning thing, Willie Geist, is this isn’t buying him a single vote.”
Where most people see increasingly flamboyant displays of racism and bigotry, Scarborough sees a series of unenforced errors—“this isn’t buying him a single vote”!—that undermine the good name of the Republican Party. Something to keep in mind the next time you see Donald Trump on Morning Joe.