MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, on Monday speculated wildly about President Donald Trump’s mental health, sounding alarms about his term-limit quip and questioning his decision on steel and aluminum tariffs.
It’s not unusual for the two co-hosts to go off the deep end about Trump’s fitness for office, dubbing the president’s “America First” policies “authoritarian” and worrying that Trump is carrying out “the destruction of a democracy.” Such scaremongering is par for the “Morning Joe” course.
“When Republicans … are just saying, ‘It’s just a joke,’ or when Republicans ignore the fact that this man is talking about being president for life, if they think that Donald Trump is joking, then they’re fools,” Scarborough said. “And I don’t think they’re fools. I think they know exactly what he’s saying.”
During a private Republican fundraiser, Trump could be overheard commenting about China’s decision to eliminate presidential term limits, according to a recording obtained by CNN.
“[Xi’s] now president for life. President for life. And he’s great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great,” Trump said. “Maybe we’ll give that a shot someday.”
The “Morning Joe” panel took Trump at his word.
“So there are many people who say, ‘Oh, the president was just joking.’ I could give you a list of the thousands of things where they claim the president was joking afterwards,” Scarborough said.
Attendees in the room when Trump made his comment reportedly laughed and clapped, taking it as a joke.
But Brzezinski claimed Trump “wants to bring us back in time” by removing presidential term limits, saying, “The people in the room clapping and laughing? At this point, who would clap and laugh at that? I mean, I would be stonefaced.”
The “Morning Joe” team also explored other news items from last week, pointing to the resignation of White House communications director Hope Hicks.
“If there was a moderating force in this White House, it might have been Hope Hicks,” Brzezinski said, bemoaning the “increasing pace of chaos at the Trump White House.”
Brzezinski pointed to a weekend Washington Post article in which Trump’s advisers and officials reportedly expressed their concerns about his mental health anonymously.
“Trump’s friends are increasingly concerned about his well-being, worried that the president’s obsession with cable commentary and perceived slights is taking a toll on the 71-year-old. ‘Pure madness,’ lamented one exasperated ally,” The Post reported.
The “Morning Joe” co-hosts also pointed to Trump’s decision to impose a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum as evidence of what they consider unhinged behavior.
The two mocked appearances on Sunday morning news shows by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Director of the White House National Trade Council Peter Navarro, who defended the president’s decision.
“Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, one of the wealthiest people in America, who built part of his fortune from steel interests … shrugs off concerns about the potential economic fallout from an increased tariff on steel,” Brzezinski said. “It’s a policy reportedly launched by an unglued president deflecting his anger in unchecked ways.”
Scarborough chimed in, “George H. W. Bush accused Ronald Reagan of voodoo economics in 1979 and 1980. This is economic witchcraft. There’s nobody in the mainstream of economic thought that thinks that way.”
Brzezinski said she couldn’t believe this was “real life.”