By | September 22, 2017

On Friday’s Morning Joe, the show’s panel reacted to the latest developments in the heated standoff between North Korea and the United States with exasperation, fear, and loathing, but not just at Kim Jong-un. In fact, Trump was the target of the greater wrath and consternation of the panel because he once again said mean things about North Korea’s ‘Dear Leader’ and his devil’s den of a country.

Starting from the top of the segment, Mika Brzezinski began by mischaracterizing Trump’s U.N. General Assembly speech and prominently highlighting Kim Jong-un’s response to it:

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is responding to President Trump’s declaration he would “totally destroy” the country. Calling him “Rocket Man” in his official remarks before the U.N. General Assembly. In a lengthy statement to Korean Central News Agency, Kim described Trump as “a frightened dog” and said this: “I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue. Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation. I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.”

Joe Scarborough appeared to appreciate Kim’s insults, twice interjecting during Brzezinski’s reading with phrases like “that’s cold” and “wow.”

In spite of the media’s repeated assertions and insinuations that Trump’s speech was scary or a threat to commit war crimes, Trump was not threatening initiatory, aggressive action against North Korea. Indeed, he very specifically said: “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

Given such a fundamental twisting of Trump’s words that the media has been cynically propagating, it’s no surprise that Morning Joe had such a collective gasp of frustration at what came next:

BRZEZINSKI: President Trump tweeted just moments ago, quote-

[Kay, Scarborough, and Brzezinski talking simultaneously]:

KATTY KAY: Oh god.

SCARBOROUGH: Uh oh, uh oh. Here we go.

BRZEZINSKI: This is unbelievable.

SCARBOROUGH: This is like ping pong. This is like Twitter ping pong.

WILLIE GEIST: With nuclear weapons. 

SCARBOROUGH: With nuclear weapons.

BRZEZINSKI: [starts talking over Geist and Scarborough, quoting Trump’s tweet] “Kim Jong-un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!”

SCARBOROUGH: [exasperated tone] Okay, there you go.

BRZEZINSKI: [exasperated tone] Okay, Donald.

SCARBOROUGH: [still exasperated] No, we get it.

BRZEZINSKI: You know what? Seriously, you are not a child. You are a 70 year-old man. Stop.

This was really quite fascinating banter. It does appear to capture the panel’s genuine emotions vis-a-vis President Trump. Morning Joe was not upset by a communist dictator’s genocidal threats against the United States, nor did they seem to appreciate the gravity of Trump’s apparent reference to the barbaric concentration camps that Kim Jong-un has continued to run in the tradition of his father and grandfather’s regimes before him. Hundreds of thousands of dead North Koreans who have often been killed and imprisoned for simply being related to a political dissident did not raise the collective ire of Morning Joe, but Trump pointing out that fact quickly upset them.

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Given their triggered emotional state in the wake of seeing Trump talk back to Kim, the panel decided to trash Trump by repeatedly putting him at least on equal moral footing with the homicidal dictator:

SCARBOROUGH: Katty, um, Mika said before, “so-called leaders,” […] if I can just put a caveat on that: “so-called leaders” with a lot of nuclear weapons.

KAY: Yeah, that’s the worrying bit about all of this, right?

SCARBOROUGH: Yes.

BRZEZINSKI: I mean, not funny. 

KAY: We expect this from North Korea and sometimes North Korea reminds me of, you know, my kind of young children when they are desperate for your attention and they’ll do and say anything to try and get your attention, including launching missiles or sending outrageous comments. It’s just that you don’t really expect the leader of the United States to engage-

SCARBOROUGH: Right.

KAY: -every time Kim Jong-un calls him a – dotard. […] You expect [Trump] to just take the high ground,-

SCARBOROUGH: Would you really?

KAY: -‘cause actually all you’re doing is giving [Kim] more attention,-

SCARBOROUGH: [interrupting] Giving him what he wants. You’re giving him what he wants.

KAY: -which is exactly what he wants. And you’re giving him more and more of an excuse to try and actually do something with those toys that he has.

For most of the rest of the segment, the panel went on speculating that Trump’s open commitment to national self-defense, his insults of Kim Jong-un, and pointing out North Korea’s evil abuses of its people would possibly cause nuclear war. But ultimately, Joe, Mika, and the others laid the final responsibility for stopping or starting a nuclear conflict squarely on Trump:

HAROLD FORD JR.: This is, this is two people playing, to Joe’s point, with nuclear weapons. And a leader in another part of the world who feels comfortable calling the leader of the free world, what was the word?

JOHN HEILEMANN: Dotard.

SCARBOROUGH: Dotard, yeah.

FORD: We’re in a different space. I’m 47 and I’ve never seen anything like this.

SCARBOROUGH: Nah, [Trump’s] gotta stop. People have got to get him to stop. […] When you’re talking about North Korea,-

BRZEZINSKI: He’s gotta stop.

SCARBOROUGH: -nuclear weapons, tone it down. And, uh, let’s try to avert nuclear war.

Friday’s segment wasn’t the first time that Joe, Mika, Geist, and their guests have had such ease in siding with North Korea’s dictator over our own President. However, if Joe really does want to have a chance of stopping nuclear war between our countries, perhaps he should take a basic first step towards truth and place at least some blame on North Korea’s government for their aggressive actions and threats.

See the extended transcript of the segment below:

6:43 AM EST

(…)

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is responding to President Trump’s declaration he would “totally destroy” the country. Calling him “Rocket Man” in his official remarks before the U.N. General Assembly. In a lengthy statement to Korean Central News Agency, Kim described Trump as “a frightened dog” and said this: “I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue. Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation. I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.”

JOE SCARBOROUGH: [talking under Mika] That’s cold.

BRZEZINSKI: A dotard is defined as a weak or senile old person.

SCARBROUGH: Wow.

BRZEZINSKI: President Trump tweeted just moments ago, quote-

[Kay, Brzezinski, and Scarborough talking simultaneously]:

KATTY KAY [BBC WORLD NEWS, ANCHOR]: Oh god.

SCARBOROUGH: Uh oh, uh oh. Here we go.

BRZEZINSKI: This is unbelievable.
    
SCARBOROUGH: This is like ping pong. This is like Twitter ping pong.

WILLIE GEIST: With nuclear weapons.  

SCARBOROUGH: With nuclear weapons.

BRZEZINSKI: [starts talking over Geist and Scarborough, quoting Trump’s tweet] “Kim Jong-un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!”

SCARBOROUGH: [exasperated tone] Okay, there you go.

BRZEZINSKI: [exasperated tone] Okay, Donald.

SCARBOROUGH: [still exasperated] No, we get it.

BRZEZINSKI: You know what? Seriously, you are not a child. You are a 70 year-old man. Stop.

SCARBOROUGH: Katty, Katty, [correcting Mika] 71. Katty, um, Mika said before, “so-called leaders,”-

BRZEZINSKI: [talking over Scarborough] This is a sad time.

SCARBOROUGH: -uh, let’s, can I, if I can just, if I can just put a caveat on that: “so-called leaders” with a lot of nuclear weapons.

KAY: Yeah, that’s the worrying bit about all of this, right?

SCARBOROUGH: Yes.

BRZEZINSKI: I mean, not funny.  

KAY: We expect this from North Korea and sometimes North Korea reminds me of, you know, my kind of young children when they are desperate for your attention and they’ll do and say anything to try and get your attention, including launching missiles or sending outrageous comments. It’s just that you don’t really expect the leader of the United States to engage-

SCARBOROUGH: Right.

KAY: -every time Kim Jong-un calls him a –

BRZEZINSKI: Unless maybe he’s [inaudible]

KAY: -dotard.

SCARBOROUGH: Dotard.

KAY: Dotard.

SCARBOROUGH: Dotard.

KAY: You expect him to just take the high ground,-

SCARBOROUGH: Would you really?

KAY: -‘cause actually all you’re doing is giving him more attention,-

SCARBOROUGH: [interrupting] Giving him what he wants. You’re giving him what he wants.

KAY: -which is exactly what he wants. And you’re giving him more and more of an excuse to try and actually do something with those toys that he has. It’s just–

SCARBOROUGH: And provoke in Donald Trump, this morning, the President, has done it again, and now he’s [Kim’s] gonna respond.

GEIST: This is, was the concern during the presidential campaign. Because this, we’re not talking about ‘little Marco’ or ‘low-energy Jeb’ anymore when Donald would insult on Twitter and give nicknames-

BRZEZINSKI: [talking under Geist] Why don’t ya go back to cable news anchors?

GEIST: -to people. And people said: What happens if he wins and he’s President of the United States and the stakes are higher and it’s not just calling somebody a bad name but you’re provoking and antagonizing somebody who’s developing a nuclear weapons program. Well here we are. We’ve got the insult comic on Twitter going back and forth with a man who has nuclear weapons.

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah.  

JOHN HEILEMANN [NBC/MSNBC, NATIONAL AFFAIRS EDITOR]: Who is referring to him now as the U.S. ‘dotard.’

SCARBOROUGH: Dotard.

KAY: And actually, I mean, what’s [inaudible] about this is there is a kind of push at the moment where you’d had the [sic] America amassing more sanctions yesterday, the E.U. announced more sanctions yesterday as well. There is a kind of diplomatic push to try and see if we can have one last-ditch effort on the sanctions. So things are happening that are good on [sic] North Korea at the moment. But then you have this weird soundtrack that is just ratcheting up the tension. And if we have a war with North Korea, it could well end up because it was a mistake. I mean it could be something like this that precipitates a miscalculation. You don’t need it, there is nothing to be gained by ratcheting up the [inaudible]. Nothing.  

SCARBOROUGH: [starts talking over Kay] And this is personal right now between two men who are behaving extraordinarily immaturely. And, you know, Harold, when you’re running the most powerful country on the planet, you don’t have to respond to insults. I mean, I think we’ve all learned this in, you know, public life: some pretty crazy things can be out there. You just, you let it go because you know that just responding elevates somebody that’s just yapping to try to get your attention.

HAROLD FORD JR.: [starts talking inaudibly, then stops]

SCARBOROUGH: [interrupting] And we all know that. The president, he just can’t let anything pass.

BRZEZINSKI: [interrupting] He’s so easily played.  

SCARBOROUGH: And if it’s, if it’s a political campaign that’s fine. But if you’re letting yourself get easily played by this little dough boy, in uh, in North Korea with nuclear weapons. See? I can say that. I’m a cable news host.

BRZEZINSKI: You’re revealing, you’re that, you would reveal that you were pathetic and needy if you respond to something like that.

SCARBOROUGH: Or weak and insecure.  

BRZEZINSKI: [talking under Joe] Which is really what we don’t want in our president.

SCARBOROUGH: I mean why would you do that? Because, again, you’re just upping the stakes. ‘Cause now, Un’s gonna respond –

FORD: It amplifies-

SCARBOROUGH: [interrupting] -and then Trump responds. And when do they fire missiles in response to his latest insult?

FORD: It amplifies the worry that Willie so well articulated. And two, you wonder where the James Baker [sic] is,-

BRZEZINSKI: Oh my god.

FORD: -where the Jim Baker is, where the-

KAY: [interrupting] Well you’ve got John Kelly.

BRZEZINSKI: [responding to Kay] He’s not working.

FORD: -statesmen, where the, well, well, you’ve gotta, you’ve gotta, you’ve gotta stop this. This, because as Willie said, this is not playfulness here. This is, this is two people playing, to Joe’s point, with nuclear weapons. And a leader in another part of the world who feels comfortable calling the leader of the free world, what was the word?

HEILEMANN: Dotard.

SCARBOROUGH: Dotard, yeah.

FORD: We’re in a different space. I’m 47 and I’ve never seen anything like this.

SCARBOROUGH: Nah, he’s [Trump’s] gotta stop. People have got to get him to stop.

BRZEZINSKI: Up next-

SCARBOROUGH: When you’re talking about North Korea,-

BRZEZINSKI: He’s gotta stop.
 
SCARBOROUGH: -nuclear weapons, tone it down. And, uh, let’s try to avert nuclear war.

(…)