We shouldn’t be talking about Donald Trump today.
It’s been 17 years since the gut-wrenching terrorist attacks that stole the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans in New York City and in our nation’s capital and in that field in Pennsylvania. Today, we should be talking only about them, about the horror of that day, and about what our nation has done since to curb terror around the world.
We shouldn’t be talking about Donald Trump.
And yet that’s what Joe Scarborough would like us to do, today of all days. The Morning Joe host — whose Twitter bio proudly proclaims “with malice toward none” — has chosen September 11 to publish an op-ed in the Washington Post entitled “Trump is harming the dream of America more than any foreign adversary ever could.”
His evidence? The GOP is creating record levels of debt, China is projected to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest economy, and Trump himself “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.”
Scarborough concludes the op-ed by implying that Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was somehow less of a threat to our nation than our current president is:
Osama bin Laden was killed by SEAL Team 6 before he accomplished that goal. Other tyrants who tried to do the same were consigned to the ash heap of history. The question for voters this fall is whether their country will move beyond this troubled chapter in history or whether they will continue supporting a politician who has done more damage to the dream of America than any foreign adversary ever could.
Shameful, indefensible hyperbole at best. But at worst, this is a brazen use of an American tragedy to castigate a political enemy. It’s cry for attention, at the expense of the memories of those who died and all of those who lost loved ones that day.
The sheer inanity of Scarborough’s “argument” is compounded by the fact that, not very long ago, he didn’t view Trump as an enemy at all. He treated him like a close friend. At NRO last year, Sarah Quinlan skillfully chronicled the full history of the Morning Joe host’s over-the-top love for Trump, which carried on well into the Republican presidential primaries — until the sands of public opinion shifted and it became disadvantageous to do so.
Scarborough gave Trump consistent campaign advice and public support, praised his “gut instinct and strength,” argued that the businessman was a gift to the Republican party in the way Ronald Reagan had been, and provided hours of free advertising by allowing him to call in to Morning Joe, giving him far more positive press than he did for any of Trump’s GOP rivals.
But even if Scarborough wasn’t so blatantly hypocritical — even if he had consistently denounced Trump as a danger to our constitutional system from the moment the businessman declared his run for president — it would still be nonsensical and harmful to compare this presidency to the worst terror attack in American history.
It is unconscionable to use the memory of September 11, 2001 — a day that, despite its horrors, united every American in grief and resilience — to further divide us over passing political debates.
The days after the 9/11 attacks were a rare example of American unity. Democrats and Republicans sang the National Anthem together on the steps of the Capitol in Washington. Americans regardless of their political views gloried in President George W. Bush’s rousing speech in the rubble of the World Trade Center and his first pitch before Game 3 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium. Although that spirit of unity dissipated and our stark political differences reemerged, every year on this day, a hint of that initial unity shows itself again. With this op-ed, Scarborough has caused division instead, contributing to the very disunity he attacks Trump for causing.