The entire panel of guests on MSNBC’s Morning Joe took on show’s namesake host, Joe Scarborough, on Monday after he came to the defense of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s thinly-veiled assassination comments about Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
At a rally in Miami on Friday, Trump falsely blasted Clinton for wanting “to destroy your Second Amendment.”
“I think what we should do is, she goes around with armed bodyguards like you have never seen before,” the Republican nominee said. “I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons, they should disarm, right? I think they should disarm. Immediately, what do you think? Yeah, take their guns away. She doesn’t want guns. Take their – let’s see what happens to her. Take their guns away, OK? It’ll be very dangerous.”
On Monday, Scarborough argued that the remarks were not offensive because it was “something conservatives have been saying for a long time.”
“He shouldn’t speak that carelessly,” political analyst Mark Halperin observed.
“The implication of what he’s saying is let’s disarm those around here so she is vulnerable,” former BBC host Katty Kay explained. “And therefore, let’s see what happens to her if she was in a position where she was not protected by guns.”
“That’s the thing, she’s always going to be protected by guns,” Scarborough insisted. “This is the conservative argument. Hillary Clinton has had people around her with guns wherever she went since 1978. Since 1978! And for her to say that somebody that wants to protect their family with a certain kind of gun shouldn’t have that gun and she’s been against handguns as well — or her husband was certainly talking about a handgun ban back in the 1990s — seems to conservatives to be the same as environmental activists screaming at Americans for driving a pickup truck while their flying around the country in a Hawker 800 XL [jet].”
Political analyst John Heilemann pointed out that Clinton’s gun safety proposals focused on strengthening background checks, not denying Americans guns to protect their families.
“I think talking loosely about the safety of another candidate is just a dumb thing to do,” Heilemann remarked. “You are sort of suggesting something bad might happen to her. Why are you introducing that as a piece of rhetoric?”
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Scarborough reminded the panel that he had been offended by Trump’s remarks suggesting “Second Amendment people” could stop Clinton from appointing anti-gun justices to the Supreme Court.
The MSNBC host added: “But ‘let’s see what happens’ is as ridiculous as me saying, ‘You know what? You think you’re so smart, okay, I’m going to build a rocket ship and you’re going to have to get in that rocket ship and you’re going to go to Mars. And then let’s see what happens, let’s see if you’re really as smart as you think you are.'”
“Hillary Clinton will no more walk down the street without a ton of secret service around her for the rest of her life most likely than you would fly to Mars,” Scarborough opined.
That declaration earned Scarborough another round of condemnation from the panel.
“I’ve heard you make a thousand smart nuanced arguments about where you think the line should be between what’s acceptable gun safety measures and what are unacceptable intrusions on the Second Amendment,” Heilemann told Scarborough. “Donald Trump could make those arguments. He could criticize her in 500 ways… There are a million ways to talk about this that don’t incite these kind of fears.”
“I think this is worse because he did it again,” Halperin agreed. “I’m against phony outrage by either campaign or anybody else. This isn’t phony outrage. This is really upsetting to someone who’s life has been threatened. You just shouldn’t do it.”
“I must be wrong then,” Scarborough concluded.