In a Friday exchange on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” BBC journalist Katty Kay and co-host Joe Scarborough appeared to briefly entertain the notion that Vice President Mike Pence is being groomed to replace President Trump.
“Joe, you saw the pictures of Vice President Pence down there, gloves on, clearing the brush, looking suspiciously presidential down in Texas,” Kay said to Scarborough.
“Suspiciously presidential,” Scarborough repeated in response. “But, yeah, I talked about it before, where a president or a vice president or a governor comes to your community and you’re suffering, it makes a huge difference.”
The mainstream media have, of course, made jumping to wild conclusions a habit of late, but Kay and Scarborough’s extraordinary extrapolation is surely one of the most nonsensical. A vice president’s trip to a disaster-stricken area to assist with recovery efforts and lift the spirits of victims is hardly unusual.
Following the devastation in New Jersey wrought by Hurricane Sandy, then Vice President Joe Biden toured the area. And while he was not laboring directly in cleanup efforts, it would be hard to determine how his visit was less “presidential” than Pence’s visit to Texas. Wearing a slick, leather bomber jacket, Biden was captured in a number of dramatic photographs during his tour. No one accused him of looking “suspiciously presidential.”
But when it comes to covering the Trump administration, MSNBC and “Morning Joe” have apparently decided to run with the most extreme explanations for all occurrences at all times.
When President Trump blamed both sides for violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Scarborough declared Trump was giving aid and “comfort” to “Klansmen and neo-Nazis” and that he was now the “president of the white nationalist movement.”
When Trump attended a NATO summit in May, Scarborough insisted that a few photographs of Trump looking slightly uncomfortable around western leaders were evidence that “He respects autocrats, he respects leaders that are able to cut people’s heads off if they protest. He respects leaders that are able to shoot journalists.”
Between May 2 and July 9, Scarborough and his co-host, Mika Brzezinski, took no fewer than five opportunities to insist that Trump’s words and behavior were evidence of a medical or mental condition.