Even Scott Baio doesn’t know why he was personally invited by Donald Trump to speak at this year’s Republican National Convention.
Following his four-minute speech, filled with meaningless platitudes such as “make America America again,” the former Joanie Loves Chachi star told CNN’s Dana Bash he “couldn’t tell if [Trump] was joking” when he asked him to deliver an address to the nation.
But while that primetime interview on CNN may have been embarrassing for both Baio and Trump, it was nothing compared to what happened when the man known to most millennials as Bob Loblaw sat down with MSNBC’s Tamron Hall live in Cleveland on Tuesday morning.
Baio told Hall that he wrote his short speech in church in Sunday morning before delivering it on Monday night. The host immediately seized on Baio’s invocation of his religious foundation to call into question a meme he posted on Twitter just over a week ago that appeared to label Hillary Clinton a “cunt.” “Did you think about that in church when you tweeted it out?” she asked.
As he has said in previous interviews, Baio dismissed the idea that there was anything offensive about the tweet, saying he was offering up the tweet “without commentary” and “just put it up there” for people in interpret as they will.
“But you know what it meant when you tweeted it out,” Hall said, asking him where his religious “moral compass” was when he decided to put that message out into the world.
“You can look at it any way you want,” Baio said, disingenuously. “It's the word ‘count,’ that's what she's standing in front of, I just put it up there. There's no commentary attached to it, I didn't call her anything, and the fact that you question my faith over putting up a picture is not nice.”
Next, Hall brought to light another tweet that Baio sent out in 2010 which consisted of a caricaturized photo of Michelle Obama with the caption, “Wow, he wakes up to this every morning.” The sentiment of that tweet was eerily similar to the meme of Heidi Cruz and Melania Trump that Donald Trump retweeted earlier in this campaign cycle.
When Baio defended that tweet as nothing more than a “joke,” Hall threw his the closing line of his convention speech back at him. “But does joking about a woman that way make America great again?” she asked. “Does that make America America again?” She went on to accuse him of contributing to the “divisiveness” that the Trump campaign has tried to pin on Democrats like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
“Listen, there's different levels to me,” Baio said, increasingly realizing he was out of his depth as he said he had no intention of being “square” and “nice to everybody.”
That may be the man America remembers from Happy Days, but once you join the Trump campaign, all bets are off.