It was one year ago this week that Joe Scarborough and his Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski cozied up with Donald Trump for an MSNBC town hall, the fairness of which they doth protested a bit too much the following morning.
Since then, Scarborough has fallen in and out of love with Trump more times than can be chronicled here, urging his party to “dump” him last August and then openly gloating over his win in November. More recently, he went after Trump’s pal Sean Hannity for his “bromance” with Julian Assange.
So how was the host of “Coffee Joe Morning”—as Stephen Colbert calls it—feeling about the president when he sat down for an interview on Tuesday’s Late Show? Not great.
Before they could get there, Colbert couldn’t help but mention the Kellyanne Conway in the room. This past week, Scarborough tore into Trump’s White House counselor on his show, questioning her credibility as a spokesperson. As he confirmed to Colbert, Mika Brzezinski has since “banned” her from appearing on Morning Joe. “That’s a strong move,” Colbert said.
“It got to a point where Kellyanne would keep coming out and everything she said was disproven five minutes later,” Scarborough said. “And it wasn’t disproven by a fact-checker; it was somebody else in the administration who would come out and actually say, ‘Well, actually, no, that’s not true.’”
Colbert told Scarborough he had a “quicker way” to say the same thing: “She just lied.”
Scarborough also confirmed his role as Trump whisperer, something John Oliver parodied recently by literally buying ad space on Morning Joe to reach the president. “He’s watched the show for years, kind of goes in waves,” he said. “Even when he claims he’s not watching the show and sends out nasty tweets to us, we’ll always look at the camera and say, ‘Donald, we know you're not watching the show, but how are you doing?’”
Colbert then ribbed Scarborough for calling Trump “Donald” instead of “Mr. President” and when his guest said he’s in a “transition,” the host joked, “You’re in a transition from being buddies?”
“He’s been Donald forever. It’s hard to start calling him Mr. President,” Scarborough replied, before trying to get back in the good graces of Colbert and his audience. “And I’ll be really honest with you, the way he’s acted over the past month has made it even harder to call him Mr. President.”
“I think we as Americans should not cheer against our president, like Rush Limbaugh said he was doing with Barack Obama. I actually think we should pray for our president,” Scarborough added. “But that requires all of us as Americans to do what we can when a president is not doing what he needs to be doing, to stand up and do our part, too.”
“And right now, I think it's the responsibility of all Americans, especially Republicans—and let me say this—especially Republicans in the Senate,” he continued, getting a loud “Yes!” from the crowd on that line, “that when you have a president of the United States that questions judicial review and questions the legitimacy of a federal judge, to stand up and say, ‘This is not right, and we’re going to call it out.’ When you have a president that actually questions free speech, the First Amendment, and news organizations that are doing their job, I think it’s incumbent upon my party, especially, to stand up right now and speak out.”
“The Republican Party needs to know that there is going to be a time after Donald Trump and they are going to be judged for the next 50 years on how they responded to the challenges of today,” Scarborough added, building to a crescendo as the liberal audience cheered for him.
“You were absolutely going for that, you were totally going for that,” Colbert said as his guest feigned surprise at the reaction. “I wish I shared your optimism that there will be a time after Donald Trump. Right now I’m a little worried.”
After praising Trump’s foreign-policy team, Scarborough said, “My bigger problem is the inside circle. There is nobody in this administration that can go in and tell this president ‘no.’” He added, “Instead you have people like Stephen Miller—or as Mika calls him, ‘The Little Dictator.’” He called Miller’s demand—that the president “not be questioned”—“scary as hell.”
Later, Scarborough told Colbert that if Trump “continues the way he continued the first month” he won’t last all four years of his term. “It hit me how grave the situation was this past weekend when the president said what he said about the press,” he added, referring to Trump’s “enemy of the American people” comments. “I hope he stays off of Twitter, but if he doesn’t I think we all have to, again, do our part as Americans.”