The Corner

Politics & Policy

It’s Not Trump Who Has Changed, It’s Mika and Joe

“Morning Joe” hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough defended themselves and challenged Trump in a Washington Post opinion piece today, responding to the president’s crude, visceral Twitter attacks on them yesterday.

“We, too, have noticed a change in [Trump’s] behavior over the past few years,” wrote Brzezinski and Scarborough in their piece, which is titled “Donald Trump is not well.” The pair echoed these sentiments on television today, with Scarborough saying, “The guy that’s in the White House now is not the guy we knew two years ago.”

This is nothing short of historical revisionism.

Two years ago, Trump retweeted that then-presidential candidate Jeb Bush “has to like the Mexican Illegals because of his wife,” Columba, who legally immigrated to America from Mexico. Two years ago, he reiterated these remarks on Anderson Cooper’s CNN show. A little before that, he launched a similar attack on Megyn Kelly, accusing her of “bleeding” after she questioned Trump about — what a coincidence! — his vile rhetoric toward women.

Trump, who dodged the draft five times, lambasted Senator John McCain, who spent over five years in a Vietnamese prison while serving during the Vietnam War, as “not a war hero” because “he was captured.” Two years before that, Trump regularly peddled the conspiracy that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. And in the decades before that, Trump had happily and routinely bragged about his sex life on the cover of the New York Post.

Let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Trump keeps on crossing new lines and hitting new lows.

Rather, Trump used to be useful for Mika and Joe, and now he is not. Or, put another way, at one time he was on their side, and now he is not. At the beginning of the 2016 election cycle, the liberal Brzezinski already had her candidate, Hillary Clinton, who had seemingly locked down the Democratic nomination. Presumably, Mika thought Trump would be easy to beat. Scarborough, meanwhile, did not seem to have an obvious pick, but most certainly had a figure whom he strongly opposed: Senator Marco Rubio, who perhaps not coincidentally, is also from Florida, where Scarborough was once a Republican representative. And in Trump, Scarborough found a fountain of anti-Rubio sentiment.

Before long, Trump found welcome hosts in Brzezinski and Scarborough, who used him to get what they wanted. Indeed, while the other GOP candidates participated in a policy-heavy town hall in South Carolina, Brzezinski and Scarborough went to far as to host a competing “town hall” with Trump, during which, according to leaked audio from commercial breaks, the MSNBC hosts agreed to “make us all look good” and to throw “nothing too hard” at Trump’s way. They delivered on this promise. Among other things, Scarborough joined with his guest in delivering Trump-style insults about Rubio’s outfit choices.

At the time, Trump’s misogynist, crass, xenophobic rhetoric may have seemed like an easy pill to swallow in return for the coronation of Queen Hillary, who looked a safe bet for the White House. Now? Not so much. But that has nothing to do with Trump, and everything to do with Mika and Joe. President or not, they knew exactly who Trump was — and years before he was elected. It’s not Trump who has changed. It’s them.

Tiana LoweTiana Lowe is a senior pursuing her B.S. in economics and mathematics at the University of Southern California and a former editorial intern at National Review.

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