MSNBC morning show host Joe Scarborough is well-known for his antipathy toward President Donald Trump, but rarely has he made that contempt more obvious than in his 9/11 editorial published in The Washington Post.
To be fair, Scarborough's essay does not solely focus on the current president. After describing an America that "dominated the world stage in a way no other country had since the height of the Roman and British empires," Scarborough paints a picture of a country that has been in inexorable decline since the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
The "Morning Joe" host specifically points to former President George W. Bush's war in Iraq, which he denounces as having "cost nearly 5,000 American lives, $2 trillion and inestimable damage to America’s credibility across the globe," and former President Barack Obama's more cautious foreign policy, which he claims even many fellow Democrats knew "would come at great cost," such as the rise of the Islamic State and the deaths of 500,000 Syrians.
Yet Scarborough saves his sharpest barbs for Trump:
Sixteen years of strategic missteps have been followed by the maniacal moves of a man who has savaged America’s vital alliances, provided comfort to hostile foreign powers, attacked our intelligence and military communities, and lent a sympathetic ear to neo-Nazis and white supremacists across the globe.
For those of us still believing that Islamic extremists hate America because of the freedoms we guarantee to all people, the gravest threat Trump poses to our national security is the damage done daily to America’s image. As the New York Times’s Roger Cohen wrote the month after Trump’s election, “America is an idea. Strip freedom, human rights, democracy and the rule of law from what the United States represents to the world and America itself is gutted.”
Fox News predictably savaged Scarborough for penning an editorial about Trump:
Scarborough allowed Trump to call into “Morning Joe” on a regular basis, hung around Mar-a-Lago and was even accused of conducting a softball town hall event with Trump in 2016 before the MSNBC anchor ditched the GOP and decided to back away from supporting his old friend. A Rolling Stone magazine article in February 2016 even referred to Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski as “Trump’s Lapdogs.”
Conservative strategist Chris Barron told Fox News that “shamelessly exploiting the death of 3,000 Americans in an attempt to do political damage to President Trump is a new low, even for Joe Scarborough.”
Meanwhile, Steve Cortes of CNBC's "Fast Money" also condemned Scarborough's editorial as inappropriate and gauche in a piece for RealClearPolitics:
Imagine, for comparison, a major television host in the 1950s, like Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow, declaring that President Eisenhower presented a “graver” threat to America than Tojo and the Imperial Japanese Army did at Pearl Harbor?
Scarborough’s comments revealed not just a hardness of heart and total lack of decorum but also an abject hypocrisy that has marked his media career. In point of fact, Scarborough provided glowing coverage to candidate Trump in 2015 and 2016. In the early, contentious days of the GOP primary, Scarborough compared him favorably to Ronald Reagan, regularly citing his instincts and political courage. Scarborough eviscerated critics, declaring“the level of rage among Trump’s political enemies from inside the Republican establishment … [was] astonishing” and that the MSNBC host’s “conservative friends are sounding … arrogant and unmoored.” Candidate Trump was so appreciative that he thanked Scarborough publicly after winning the New Hampshire primary, prompting CNN to report on internal NBC angst about cozy coverage.