MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough issued some of the most hyperbolic rhetoric, even among cable news hosts, against President Donald Trump Wednesday, for Trump’s doubling down on his claim that “there’s blame on both sides” for violence that occurred over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Scarborough claimed Trump has become “the president” of “the white nationalist movement.”
During an infrastructure press conference Tuesday, the media barraged the president with questions about the white nationalist rally that took place in Virginia on Saturday and left one woman dead and 20 others wounded. In his initial statement Saturday, the president condemned “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” without specifically mentioning white supremacists or neo-Nazis. After receiving widespread criticism, the president issued another statement Monday in which he directly called out those groups.
On Tuesday, the president defended his initial statement while calling out violent liberal counterprotesters, saying, “You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now.” The president condemned both the Alt-Right and the Alt-Left in his remarks.
Scarborough took Trump’s decision to cast blame on both sides for the violence as an assault on the civil rights movement.
“The United States — sometimes it’s been painful, but we’ve been in a constant, long march towards equality. And yesterday, it’s almost as if the president held up a stop sign and stopped history in its tracks,” Scarborough said.
The “Morning Joe” host noted former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke praised Trump’s Tuesday press conference.
Duke tweeted, “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa.”
So explicit was his suggestion that Trump was fueling racism, Scarborough felt the need to acknowledge that “there are a lot of people who voted for [Trump] that aren’t Nazis, that aren’t white nationalists.”
“There are a lot of people across the country that are asking, ‘What the hell did I vote for? This is not what I voted for. I didn’t want a Clinton or a Bush in the White House, but I sure as hell didn’t want a Duke in the White House.’ And that’s what they’ve got,” he claimed.
Scarborough inferred that Trump granted a “moral equivalency” between neo-Nazis and white supremacists on one side and the counterprotesters, some of whom were violent Antifa agitators.
“But of course, not so strange is the fact that David Duke and other white nationalists actually prais[ed] the president of the United States yesterday for his words, and why not? He has now officially become the president … not only of America, but also of the white nationalist movement,” Scarborough said.
“Well David Duke, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Klan members, they stand on one side, and apparently the rest of America and the world stands on the other,” he added. “The president has chosen sides, and it is very clear, not only morally — especially morally, but also politically, he has chosen the wrong side.”
“It is now up to the rest of us to figure out why he did that exactly? Is he just a bigot? Is he just a racist? And what are we going to do about it?” Scarborough continued. “Because I can tell you, the one thing that does not seem to be an option for GOP legislators, GOP donors, conservative editorial writers is indifference or granting Donald Trump the sort of moral equivalency that Donald Trump granted Nazis, white supremacists and Klan members.”