Joe Scarborough sparked outrage by comparing Donald Trump to Vladimir Putin and saying that the president ‘would kill reporters if he could get away with it’.
The Morning Joe host made the inflammatory comments on Monday while discussing Trump’s disastrous interview with 60 Minutes which aired the night before.
Trump abruptly ended that interview 37 minutes in and attacked journalist Lesley Stahl after she opened by asking: ‘Are you ready for some tough questions?’
Reacting to the exchange on his MSNBC show, Scarborough said it’s ‘fascinating that Donald Trump says its “inappropriate” for Lesley Stahl to ask tough questions’ and that the president ‘resembles an autocratic leader from eastern Europe’.
‘Though he kills journalists, Vladimir Putin, on camera, actually seems a little more willing to answer tough questions when they are asked of him,’ Scarborough said. ‘Donald Trump can’t even handle that.’
‘Of course, Donald Trump would kill reporters if he could get away with it,’ he added. ‘I think even his strongest supporters would admit Trump would do whatever he could get away with.’
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Joe Scarborough sparked outrage by saying Donald Trump ‘would kill reporters if he could get away with it’ during Monday’s episode of Morning Joe
Scarborough compared Trump to Vladimir Putin (above together) while discussing the president’s disastrous 60 Minutes interview. ‘Though he kills journalists, Vladimir Putin, on camera, actually seems a little more willing to answer tough questions when they are asked of him,’ Scarborough said. ‘Donald Trump can’t even handle that’
Though Trump has never been quiet about his disdain for the ‘Fake News’ media, Scarborough’s assertion that the president would commit murder crossed the line for some viewers.
Sounding off on Twitter, critics called the comments ‘absurd’ and ‘ridiculous’.
‘Such total c**p – why is he on the air?’ one viewer asked. ‘Oh yeah, propaganda.’
Viewers branded Scarborough’s comments ‘absurd’ and ‘ridiculous’ on Twitter
Trump’s frustrations with the media came to a head last Tuesday when he stormed out of his interview with Stahl after becoming irritated by her questions.
His refusal to sit through Stahl’s questioning sparked uproar on social media, and the president, furious at being called weak, released the entire clip on his Facebook page on Thursday.
‘Look at the bias, hatred and rudeness on behalf of 60 Minutes and CBS,’ he said, with a link to the 37 minute segment.
CBS finally aired its full program on Sunday night, with Stahl explaining in the introduction: ‘We had prepared to talk about the many issues and questions facing the president, but in what has become an all-too-public dust-up, the conversation was cut short.
‘It began politely, but ended regrettably, contentiously.’
Trump’s frustrations with the media came to a head last Tuesday when he stormed out of his 60 Minutes interview with Lesley Stahl after becoming irritated by her questions
The president bristled immediately when Stahl started the interview by asking: ‘Are you ready for some tough questions?’
He brought that up directly before he cut the interview short.
‘Excuse me. Lesley you started with your first statement was are you ready for tough questions. That’s no way to talk,’ Trump told Stahl.
He also pointed out that Democratic nominee Joe Biden gets ‘softball after softball’.
‘I’ve seen all his interviews, he’s never been asked a question that’s hard,’ Trump said.
The president also pushed that the ’60 Minutes’ interview wasn’t supposed to be hard.
‘When you set up the interview you didn’t say that,’ he told Stahl. ‘You said: “Oh, let’s have a little interview.” And here’s what I do say, you don’t ask Joe Biden. I saw your interview with Joe Biden.’
Stahl interjected: ‘I’ve never done a Joe Biden [interview].’
Trump called it ‘a joke’.
While Stahl started off by telling the president the interview would be ‘tough,’ on several occasions she pointed out how loved the president is by his supporters and asked why he didn’t use that influence to push them to wear masks or lay off Michigan Gov Gretchen Whitmer, who was targeted by right-wing militia members in part of a kidnapping plot.
Trump said he believed ‘masks possibly worked’ and that a ‘lot of people are wearing masks’ to his rallies, which have packed in thousands since the president returned to the campaign trail after his battle with coronavirus.
Stahl said she couldn’t believe Trump wouldn’t push people to be more cautious at the rallies after the White House Rose Garden event to announce Judge Amy Coney Barrett became a ‘superspreader’ event.
‘I tell people to wear masks,’ Trump protested.
Stahl shot back: ‘No you don’t.’
The president then pointed out that his campaign handed out thousands of masks to rally-goers.
‘But you look out and they’re not wearing them and you don’t say: “Please put on your masks,”‘ Stahl said.
At none of his recent rallies has the president, himself, made the request.
‘They love you, they would pay attention,’ Stahl urged.
Trump on Thursday release the ‘full, unedited’ version of his 37-minute interview with 60 Minutes
Later Stahl said: ‘You are very powerful.’
‘If you go after somebody, they take it to heart and there are plots and threats,’ she said, using Whitmer and Dr Anthony Fauci as examples.
Trump also got annoyed at Stahl for suggesting that his rallies were bigger in 2016.
‘These are much bigger than I’ve ever had,’ Trump said. ‘You just come in here with that negative attitude,’ he scoffed.
At another point, Trump got angry when Stahl said he was pleading with suburban women to get their vote.
‘You said the other day to suburban women: “Will you please like me please,”‘ she began.
The president called the way she phrased the question ‘misleading’ and said it was a joke.
‘See, the way you said that is why people think of you and everybody else as fake news,’ Trump told Stahl. ‘I said kiddingly: “Suburban women you should love me.”‘
When Stahl pointed out that he was behind in the polls with this group, Trump responded: ‘I doubt it, I doubt it.’
‘And one of the reasons why is they don’t feel you’re being upfront about the pandemic,’ she said.
Trump then complained, ‘You’re really quite impossible to convince.’
Trump spoke to Stahl for 37 minutes (above) and then cut their discussions short
Stahl also wasn’t convinced when Trump called the revelations on a laptop that allegedly belongs to Hunter Biden ‘the biggest scandal out there, Lesley.’
‘I think it’s one of the biggest scandals I’ve ever seen and you don’t cover it,’ Trump said.
Stahl pushed back saying that the authenticity of the laptop’s contents ‘can’t be verified’.
‘What can’t be verified?’ Trump asked.
The president then claimed that Joe Biden had ‘gone into hiding’.
‘He’s preparing for the debate,’ Stahl said.
Stahl also got conflicting answers from Trump within minutes about the long-promised Republican healthcare plan that would take the place of Obamacare.
‘It is developed, it is fully developed,’ Trump told her. ‘It is going to be announced very soon when we see what happens to Obamacare.’
Obamacare, more formally known as the Affordable Care Act, is facing a court challenge that will be heard by the Supreme Court just weeks after the November election.
‘I hope they end it, it will be so good if they end it, because we will come up with a plan,’ Trump continued.
Stahl pointed out that Trump had said ‘will,’ after he had just told her the plan was already done.
‘We have large sections of it already done,’ Trump answered. ‘And we’ve already come up with plans. Take a look at your various secretaries, various plans that we’ve already come up with.’
Stahl pointed out Trump’s defensive posture during their sit-down.
‘It’s attack, attack, attack, attack, attack,’ she noted.
But as the interview neared its abrupt end she also expressed regret for it being so contentious.
‘I didn’t want to have this kind of interview,’ she said.
The president charged that she shouldn’t have started it by telling him she was going to ask tough questions.
‘You are president, don’t you think you should be accountable to the American people?’ she asked right before Trump stormed out.
‘I’ve got a lot of questions I didn’t ask,’ Stahl says, as Trump leaves the set. She wasn’t able to finish the interview
The full 60 Minutes program also included the moments after Trump left, which had not been shown in the version he posted.
Stahl remained seated with a shocked look on her face, saying: ‘I’ve got a lot of questions I didn’t ask.’
Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, then entered with a weighty folder which she described as ‘his health care plan’.
In the voiceover Stahl comments: ‘It was heavy. Filled with executive orders, congressional initiatives, but no comprehensive health plan.’
Stahl then asked McEnany: ‘And the president’s not coming back?’
McEnany replies: ‘The president’s given you a lot of time.’
Mike Pence, the vice president, was then in the hot seat.
He told Stahl that Trump was not interested in ‘back and forth with the media’.
‘Lesley, President Trump is a man who speaks his mind,’ Pence said.
‘I think it’s one of the great strengths that he’s had as president of the United States, is that the American people always know where they stand.
‘And he’s always ready. And the American people know that – in this time, it’s, it’s – it’s less about the back and forth with the media, and it’s – it’s really more about how we bring this country all the way back.’
Trump was due to return, to film a segment in the Rose Garden with Pence, but he did not come back.