Joe Scarborough: There's no chance the Hillary team will be able to control Bill Clinton in a general election against Trump

"Even in the best circumstances in 2008, Bill Clinton was hard to control," he said

By Scott Eric Kaufman
May 11, 2016 4:31PM (UTC)
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Joe Scarborough (Credit: MSNBC)

On Morning Joe Wednesday, co-host Joe Scarborough responded to claims by Trump strategist Paul Manafort that there are secrets about the Clintons yet to be revealed by saying that regardless of the truth-value of Manafort's threat, such things are going to make it very difficult for the Hillary Clinton campaign to control Bill in the general election.

Manafort appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews Tuesday and argued that, as Matthews put it, "Hillary Clinton did nasty, terrible things to these women that had relations with [Bill]." Manafort said that Trump "will be talking about those [things] in the campaign," but when Matthews pressed him about it, Manafort refused to provide evidence and merely said, "I believe what [Trump] says to be true."


Matthews was dismissive, but both Mika Brzezinski and Scarborough took Manafort's word at face-value and said, "this is going to get really ugly." But only Scarborough thought that the ugliness would come not from the candidate, but from her husband, the former president.

"They're going to throw the kitchen sink at him," Scarborough said. "It's not going to be an 'October Surprise,' it's going to come out now, and at Bill Clinton. We don't know if Hillary is going to win this thing or not, but for Bill, it's going to be a very hard six months."

The panelists agreed, especially George W. Bush's former communications director Nicolle Wallace, who said that Bill reminds her of other "candidates who are out of practice, like Jeb Bush, people who aren't in the fight, in this arena of social media -- they have not thrived under the white-hot glare of Trump's onslaughts."


"Here's the problem," Scarborough replied. "Even in the best circumstances in 2008, Bill Clinton was hard to control. Remember that horrid speech he gave in New Hampshire? Here, [the Trump campaign] is going to be leveling charges that are insane even by Bill Clinton-standards."

"How the Hillary team controls Bill -- are they going to do what the Obama team did with Joe Biden? Put him on a plane with an iPod and let him listen to music so he doesn't say anything?"

Watch the entire segment below via MSNBC.


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at

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